by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) Nov 17, 2011
Most of the radioactive fallout from the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant dropped into the ocean and began circling the planet, Japanese researchers said Thursday.
Up to 80 percent of the caesium released by the Fukushima Daiichi power plant landed in the Pacific and made its way into other oceans around the world, scientists at the Meteorological Research Institute said.
"The rest has fallen on land" in and around Fukushima, said Hiroshi Takahashi, a researcher at the institute in Ibaraki, northeast of Tokyo.
"The results mean the ocean was more contaminated than land, although recent data have shown that ocean pollution resulting from the accident was well below levels affecting humans," Takahashi said.
Researchers say the radioactive materials, including caesium-137, an isotope with a half-life of more than 30 years, were widely dispersed when they entered the oceans and each particle would measure less than one micrometer -- one seventh the size of a human red blood cell.
Using computer simulations, they calculate the material was first blown northeast over eastern Russia and Alaska, before falling into the Pacific and reaching the western coast of the mainland United States around March 17, Takahashi said.
The materials were believed to have completed their first around-the-globe trip by March 24, he said, adding that the results would be presented to an academic meeting in Nagoya, central Japan.
Several previous studies, including one produced in France last month, have concluded the fallout had been hugely diluted by ocean currents and, except for near-shore species, posed no discernible threat.
Japan has been on alert for the impact of radiation since an earthquake and resulting tsunami struck the northeast of the country on March 11, crippling the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
Its cooling systems were knocked offline and reactors were sent into meltdown, resulting in the leaking of radiation into the air, oceans and food chain.
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes
Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.
Chernobyl veterans on hunger strike over benefit cuts
Donetsk, Ukraine (AFP) Nov 16, 2011
Ukrainian veterans of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster clean-up demonstrated around the country on Wednesday against cuts to their benefits, the latest in a string of protests. In the eastern industrial city of Donetsk, a stronghold of President Victor Yanukovych, some 80 Chernobyl "liquidators" said they were going on a hunger strike in two dozen tents pitched outside the pension fund buildin ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2011 - Space Media Network. AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement|