Radioactive cesium-137 released from Fukushima 1.5 times Tepco estimate: study


The total amount of radioactive cesium-137 released into the atmosphere and seawater from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant is estimated at between 17,500 and 20,500 terabecquerels, a study by a Japanese research team showed Friday.

The team’s finding on the cumulative amount of cesium-137 is nearly 1.5 times more than the estimate by plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. of less than 13,600 terabecquerels.

The team announced its findings on cesium-137 during an academic session of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna on geoscience processes related to the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

Michio Aoyama, a professor at Fukushima University’s Institute of Environmental Radioactivity who is part of the team, told Kyodo News that TEPCO “underestimates” the amount of cesium-137 that was released into the atmosphere and later fell into the sea.

Scientists are trying to detect the levels of radioactive cesium due to its potential, long-term risks to the land and sea. Cesium-137, which has a half-life of around 30 years, can cause cancer.

The total amount of cesium-137 differs based on researchers’ estimates but Aoyama has expressed confidence about the data his team gathered and analyzed, saying theirs is the “most probable” figure as it is based on actual measured data.

The study estimates that 14,000 to 17,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137 were released into the atmosphere, while about 3,500 terabecquerels directly flowed into the ocean. A terabequerel is equal to 1 trillion bequerels.

In the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, 85,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137 were released.

But in the case of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Aoyama said the release of radioactive cesium-137 has a “big impact on the ocean,” since the Fukushima nuclear complex is near the coast.

The study also found that 12,000 to 15,000 terabecquerels of the cesium-137 released into the atmosphere fell into the sea, while the remaining amount fell into the soil. Of the amount that fell on land, up to 400 terabecquerels fell on North America, while Europe was hardly affected.

  • Winslow Wilson

    There is a better way to go in life than measuring poison that’s been dumped on us by the Nuclear power industry.

    In Germany last October, Wind and Solar supplied 60% of its total electricity to the country. It was a good month and though not every month is that good it will soon become better.

    Germany is going into high gear production on their new developments. They developed a new solar panel that is 47% efficient. Before they announced their determination to phase out Nuclear power 3 years ago, the best solar panels were only at about 17 to 20% efficient. Their new ones perform well even in the worst weather. The first ones will of course go to German industry and citizens before they become available to others.

    The main thing this shows us is that “Where there is a will, there is a way.”

    They knew they couldn’t stand around saying ” It’s too hard.” once they committed to getting off of nuclear power. They had to put a move on it and move they did. I’m surprised at the Japanese people still listening to the pro-nuclear spin-doctors that tell them they will be sorry if they leave nuclear as a power source.

    At one time people here in the US thought of the Japanese society as being very innovative and many of us thought that the great innovations in alternative power would come from Japan. Unfortunately this is no longer the case since Fukushima makes Japan’s technological abilities look quite impotent to the world.

    In so far as TEPCO’s ‘Deep Apologies’ to their public, they sound so hollow and useless. Deep Apologies are as useless as their ability to do anything. Maybe you should apologize first for all of the lies in your inspection reports and then for the lies of the harmful radiation releases during the first few days of the disaster.

    If you’re really sorry then get into another industry and try and do some repair to the planet you’ve damaged. Stop with the hand-wringing and tell your spin-doctors to stop trying to convince people that nuclear is a sane way to electric power.

    I commend Germany for their courage to commit to leaving nuclear power behind and bravely going forth into the uncertain future. I have all confidence that they will succeed and not only that but lead us all to a better way on this planet.

    The future will always be uncertain. The coward will stay with the known, even if it is bad or deadly, the brave ones will refuse and rise up to find a better way.

  • Svenja

    I wish there were more analysis in the article. It merely reports that the group announced different calculations from those already released by TEPCO, but doesn’t even attempt to hint at what data collection methods, estimation methods, or calculation methods underpin the difference. The fact that the announcement of the findings was made in Austria is much less interesting than explaining the difference in calculations. This is just another uncritical news article. I am bored stiff by it.

  • Winslow Wilson

    True, it shouldn’t have been used as a power source for cities. Of course it’s only human nature to try. That I could accept. But once we discovered all the pit falls of not being able to store the waste and the inability to stop it in an emergency, we should have woke up and realized it’s too dangerous.

    Instead the fools started dumping the waste into the Oceans of the world. Millions of tons of high and low level radioactive waste was dropped out there for 3 decades before an international law was written to stop these clowns.

    Their motto is “Profit At Any Cost.” The health of all people is a ‘Risk they are willing to take’ in order to get their profit.

    Watch out for people writing pro-nuclear articles and viewpoints. The billionaire Koch brothers own giant Uranium mines and pay individuals to write pro-nuclear viewpoints on sites like this.

    Read about their ‘dark money’ on the web and how they are being investigated and made to disclose who they are giving their money to.

    They own people and put them into political positions to do their bidding. When I say own, I mean like how a pimp will own a little tramp on the streets.

    It’s quite obvious when we look at the mainstream media in the US. There has hardly been a word about Fukushima on TV, radio or newspapers since the accident took place. The only place you could find out any news about it was on the web.

    The corporations know that the vast majority of people don’t go to the web for their news.

    Ask most people on the streets if they know that Fukushima is still pumping radioactive waste 24/7 into the Pacific. Ask them if they know that its into the billions of gallons each week. They will tell you “No” they didn’t know it. Not only that, but most likely they won’t believe you.

    This is why word of mouth to your friends and associates is necessary. Get them involved to sign petitions online to stop this insanity. A good site to go to is Move On . Org

    They are mainly responsible for bringing about the investigations onto the Koch brothers dark money.

    Call out the spin doctors when you see them online. Remember, if they’re talking pro-nuclear then most likely there is money coming their way. Otherwise they couldn’t possibly be so stupid and out of touch to the ineptness and extreme dangers of this industry.

  • Vindicated Man

    It’s amazing how quickly Fukushima stopped being an important topic with the world’s media.

  • Starviking

    The problem is Patrick, that efficiency and cost are linked, so whatever your viewpoint on nuclear power, you should be concerned about efficiency. As for pros and cons, you are obviously anti-nuclear, so really there’s no point in continuing the discussion.