. Earth Science News .

Nuclear pollution of sea from Fukushima was world's biggest
by Staff Writers
Paris (AFP) Oct 27, 2011

France's nuclear monitor said on Thursday that the amount of caesium 137 that leaked into the Pacific from the Fukushima disaster was the greatest single nuclear contamination of the sea ever seen.

But, confirming previous assessments, it said caesium levels had been hugely diluted by ocean currents and, except for near-shore species, posed no discernible threat.

From March 21 to mid-July, 27.1 peta becquerels of caesium 137 entered the sea, the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety (IRSN) said.

One peta becquerel is a million billion bequerels, or 10 to the power of 15.

Of the total, 82 percent entered the sea before April 8, through water that was pumped into the Fukushima's damaged reactor units in a bid to cool them down, it said.

"This is the biggest single outflow of man-made radionuclides to the marine environment ever observed," the agency said in a press release.

Caesium is a slow-decaying element, taking 30 years to lose half of its radioactivity.

The IRSN said large quantities of iodine 131 also entered the sea as a result of the disaster, caused by the March 11 9.0-magnitude quake that occurred off northeastern Japan.

But iodine 131 decays quickly, having a half-life of eight days, and the contamination "swiftly diminished," the report said.

The IRSN said that, for the Pacific generally, caesium levels would ultimately stabilise at 0.004 becquerels per litre thanks to the diluting effect of powerful ocean currents.

This is twice the concentration that prevailed during atmospheric nuclear testing in the 1960s.

"These levels should not have an impact in terms of radiological safety," the IRSN said.

However, "significant pollution of seawater on the coast near the damaged plant could persist," because of continuing runoff of contaminated rainwater from the land, it said.

"Maintaining monitoring of marine species taken in Fukushima's coastal waters is justified," it said.

The IRSN cited deep-water fish, fish at the top of the marine food chain and molluscs and other filtrating organisms as "the species that are the most sensitive" to caesium pollution.

Related Links
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Radiation hotspot near Tokyo linked to Fukushima: officials
Tokyo (AFP) Oct 24, 2011
Radiation levels as high as those in the evacuation zone around Japan's Fukushima nuclear plant have been detected in a Tokyo suburb, and are likely linked to the disaster, officials said Monday. The hotspot, a small area of about one metre (three feet) radius, was found in a vacant lot in Kashiwa city, Chiba prefecture, a commuter suburb of the capital, officials said. Radiation levels ... read more

Nuclear pollution of sea from Fukushima was world's biggest

Looting in Turkey as quake survivors seethe over aid

Teenager saved days after Turkey quake as toll reaches 550

Rice regrets shoe shopping amid Katrina disaster: book

RIM stock suffers on new tablet software stall

Reversing course, Hewlett-Packard to keep PC unit

Video game makers ready barrage of blockbusters

Wearable depth-sensing projection system makes any surface capable of multitouch interaction

Desalination part of solution for China?

US residents say Hawaii's coral reef ecosystems worth $33.57 billion per year

Brazil snub to OAS heightens row over dam

Record fine for VI firm caught trading protected coral

Extreme Melting on Greenland Ice Sheet

China's glaciers in meltdown mode: study

Glaciers in China shrinking with warming

Polar bear habitats expected to shrink dramatically:

Hong Kong foodie festival raises wine hub profile

Food Chemical Regulations Rely Heavily on Industry Self-Policing and Lack Transparency

Pastoralists in drought-stricken Kenya receive insurance payouts for massive livestock losses

Magnetic tongue ready to help produce tastier processed foods

Bangkok exodus as floods advance on city centre

Five die in Italy flooding

Rina weakens as it heads for Cancun

Hurricane Rina weakens, holds course for Cancun

700 protest over war pensions in Mozambique

US troops to advise front-line units on Uganda rebels

France denies Somali bombardment, admits helping Kenya

Sudden drop in Somali arrivals in Kenya: UNHCR

World population to hit 10 bln, but 15 bln possible: UN

Study uncovers physiological nature of disgust in politics

Computer scientist cracks mysterious Copiale Cipher

Tracing the first North American hunters


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