Research on US nuclear levels after Fukushima could aid in future nuclear detectionThe amount of radiation released during the Fukushima nuclear disaster was so great that the level of atmospheric radioactive aerosols in Washington state was 10,000 to 100,000 times greater than normal levels in the week following the March 11 earthquake and tsunami that triggered the disaster.
Despite the increase, the levels were still well below the amount considered harmful to humans and they posed no health risks to residents at the time, according to researchers at The University of Texas at Austin.
The findings, published by a mechanical engineering professor at the Cockrell School of Engineering and researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), provide important insight into the magnitude of the disaster. They also demonstrate huge advancements in the technology that's used for monitoring nuclear material and detecting covert nuclear operations around the world.
"I think the conclusion was that this was a really major event here," Cockrell School of Engineering Associate Professor Steven Biegalski said of the Fukushima disaster.