Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major Energy and Environmental News and Commentary affecting the Nuclear Industry.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Directly comparing Fukushima to Chernobyl - September 07, 2011

Directly comparing Fukushima to Chernobyl - September 07, 2011


"This Sunday (11 September) marks the six-month anniversary of the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The accident has slipped from the headlines, but new data is coming out all the time. Some of the most recent findings are allowing the best comparison yet of Fukushima with Chernobyl.
A lot of media outlets (ourselves included) first made the Fukushima-Chernobyl comparison back in April, when the Japanese revised their estimate of the Fukushima accident—rating it a seven on the seven-point international INES scale. The conclusion most reached at the time was that, although the rating was the same, Fukushima was a much smaller accident.
A couple of things have changed since those first reports. First, the Japanese doubled their estimate of the radiation released by Fukushima in June to 7.7x1017 Becquerels (Bq). Then, on 30 August, they released the first maps of radioactive caesium-137 (Cs-137) contamination from the plant. Cs-137 has a half-life of 30 years, and it's considered the major long-term contaminate for both accidents.
With the new Cs-137 data, we can now directly compare the fallout from Chernobyl to Fukushima. Check out the Google Earth mashup above (zoom out to see Chernobyl on top of Fukushima, and rotate over to the Ukraine to see Chernobyl in context)."

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