Now They Tell Us: Cesium-137 Soil Deposition May Be Much Wider Than Thought, Hokkaido and Western Japan May Have “Hot Spots
Not the news that weary radiation-vigilant residents of Japan (including Tokyo Brown Tabby) wanted to hear.
But according to a new research paper by the international team of scientists to be published on the electronic version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS), cesium-137 (half life 30 years) may have deposited in the soil in much wider areas including Hokkaido, Chubu, Chugoku, Shikoku in one month starting March 20. The cesium deposition in these regions is considered to be in much lower concentration than in Tohoku or Kanto, but the researchers say there may be radiation “hot spots” in these regions.
It’s no surprise to anyone who used to look at the dispersion simulations by Austria’s ZAMG, Germany’s DWD and Norway’s NILU in the early days of the nuclear crisis in March, April and May. I remember seeing large plumes engulfing Hokkaido a number of times, and occasional small plumes swiping Shikoku.
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Cesium-137 deposition and contamination of Japanese soils due to the Fukushima nuclear accident
- Teppei J. Yasunaria,1,
- Andreas Stohlb,
- Ryugo S. Hayanoc,
- John F. Burkhartb,d,
- Sabine Eckhardtb, and
- Tetsuzo Yasunarie
aUniversities Space Research Association, Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research, Columbia, MD 21044;
bNorwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, N-2027 Kjeller, Norway;
cDepartment of Physics, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bukyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan;
dSierra Nevada Research Institute, University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343; and
eHydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan
Edited by James E. Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, and approved October 5, 2011 (received for review July 25, 2011)
The largest concern on the cesium-137 (137Cs) deposition and its soil contamination due to the emission from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) showed up after a massive quake on March 11, 2011. Cesium-137 (137Cs) with a half-life of 30.1 y causes the largest concerns because of its deleterious effect on agriculture and stock farming, and, thus, human life for decades. Removal of 137Cs contaminated soils or land use limitations in areas where removal is not possible is, therefore, an urgent issue. A challenge lies in the fact that estimates of 137Cs emissions from the Fukushima NPP are extremely uncertain, therefore, the distribution of 137Cs in the environment is poorly constrained. Here, we estimate total 137Cs deposition by integrating daily observations of137Cs deposition in each prefecture in Japan with relative deposition distribution patterns from a Lagrangian particle dispersion model, FLEXPART. We show that 137Cs strongly contaminated the soils in large areas of eastern and northeastern Japan, whereas western Japan was sheltered by mountain ranges. The soils around Fukushima NPP and neighboring prefectures have been extensively contaminated with depositions of more than 100,000 and 10,000 MBq km-2, respectively. Total 137Cs depositions over two domains: (i) the Japan Islands and the surrounding ocean (130–150 °E and 30–46 °N) and, (ii) the Japan Islands, were estimated to be more than 5.6 and 1.0 PBq, respectively. We hope our 137Cs deposition maps will help to coordinate decontamination efforts and plan regulatory measures in Japan.
Download the pdf of the PNAS article, “Cesium-137 deposition and contamination of Japanese soils due to the Fukushima nuclear accident” at:
Watch the video. Read the transcript.
Chernobyl Survivor Shares Story, Advice for Japan
Fukushima No. 1 tour an eye-opener
Radiation dangers temper sense of stability at scene of devastation
OKUMA, Fukushima Pref. — “Now 1,000 microsieverts (per hour)!”
The shout by a Tokyo Electric Power Co. worker, in full face mask and seamless white protective suit, sent tension high among the 18 journalists aboard a slow-moving bus inside the compound of the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.
As the bus moved near the badly damaged reactor 2 building, a radiation meter spiked to a level about 18,000 times higher than the everyday reading in Tokyo.
Response rate for Fukushima’s thyroid check-ups on kids reaches 77 percent
FUKUSHIMA — The response rate for the first wave of thyroid check-ups for children under the age of 18 here was some 77 percent, a number that far surpasses that of most regular check-ups, officials said.
The initial examinations for possible thyroid abnormalities, launched between Oct. 9 and Nov. 13 in several areas of those places most affected by the Fukushima No.1 nuclear power plant disaster, including the two towns of Namie and Iitate, attracted a 77 percent response rate. Among those, 25 percent were people who had evacuated out of Fukushima Prefecture and traveled back to the prefecture specifically for the check-ups.
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March 11 quake’s ‘long-period’ tremors left cracks in Tokyo skyscrapers
Tokyo’s skyscrapers were particularly susceptible to the long-period tremors that shook Japan on March 11, with cracks appearing in many buildings across the capital, a Nov. 14 report to an investigative committee revealed.
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) report to the new committee — formed to study the provision of information on the effects of long-period temblors — 30 of 34 skyscrapers 60 meters tall and over surveyed in Tokyo had been left with cracks in interior materials and chipped paint. The quake stopped the elevators in all 34 skyscrapers, and caused tangled cables and other damage to those in four of the buildings.
A long-period tremor is ground movement lasting more than one second, producing low-frequency waves. The degree to which a building sways during a quake depends partly on whether the structure has a sympathetic resonance frequency that matches that of the tremor, exacerbating the shaking.
The committee also heard that liquid including petroleum had leaked out of the tops of storage tanks in Chiba and Niigata prefectures, among other locations.
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