April 11, 2011

Fukushima radiation levels 4 times those of Chernobyl

INES/International Nuclear Event Scale (Triang...Image via Wikipedia
The situation at Fukushima is no longer top news but reports from reliable sources are being published stating that radiation level are 4 times those of Chernobyl:

[A] study conducted by a team of experts from Kyoto University and Hiroshima University ... found cesium-137 at levels between about 590,000 and 2.19 million becquerels per cubic meter [outside the 30 kilometer evacuation zone].

After the Chernobyl nuclear accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986, residents who lived in areas where cesium-137 levels exceeded 555,000 becquerels were forced to move elsewhere.

The amounts of cesium-137 found in Iitate were at most four times the figure from Chernobyl.

If more radioactive materials are emitted from the crippled Fukushima plant, the level of cesium-137 could rise even further.

Today, Kyodo News is reporting that - due to extremely high radiation levels - the Japanese government is considering raising the nuclear crisis from a 5 to a 7 - the highest possible level of disaster:
The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan released a preliminary calculation Monday saying that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour at some point after a massive quake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11.

The disclosure prompted the government to consider raising the accident's severity level to 7, the worst on an international scale, from the current 5, government sources said. The level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale has only been applied to the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.


According to an evaluation by the INES, level 7 accidents correspond with a release into the external environment radioactive materials equal to more than tens of thousands terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.

Haruki Madarame, chairman of the commission, which is a government panel, said it has estimated that the release of 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour continued for several hours.

The commission says the release has since come down to under 1 terabecquerel
per hour and said that it is still examining the total amount of radioactive materials released.
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