Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Now They Tell Us" Series: Radioactive Cesium Fallout in Fukushima from March to June Was 6.83 Million Becquerels

(UPDATE) The Ministry's other release says the measurement in Fukushima was done in July, therefore no detection of iodine-131 or any other short-lived nuclides. The Ministry sat on the data for only 5 months then.


or 47 times as much as all the 45 prefectures (excluding Fukushima and Miyagi) combined.

Or 145 million times as much as the pre-accident annual number for Fukushima, in half a month.

It took only 9 months for the Ministry of Education and Science to finally disclose the number for Fukushima Prefecture. The Ministry is yet to say anything about Miyagi Prefecture.

The ostensible reason for not disclosing the numbers for Fukushima and Miyagi has been that the measuring stations got damaged by the earthquake. Well, by releasing the data, albeit very late, the Ministry makes it rather clear that the measuring station in Fukushima was just fine, and it had the data.

Still, the number is only for radioactive cesium (134 and 137). No word about radioactive iodine, or about any other nuclide.

From Asahi Shinbun (12/14/2011):


Regarding the radioactive cesium that has been released into the atmosphere as the result of the Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant accident, the Ministry of Education and Science announced on December 14 that the cumulative amount of radioactive cesium fallout in 4 months after the accident in Fukushima Prefecture was 6.83 million becquerels/square meter. The Ministry announced the cumulative amounts of radioactive cesium fallout for the 45 prefectures last month, excluding Fukushima and Miyagi. The amount in Fukushima is 168 times as much as that in Ibaraki Prefecture (40,801 becquerels) which had the highest amount among the 45 prefectures, and 47 times as much as the amount for the 45 prefectures combined (144,446 becquerels).


The numbers are the cumulative numbers, measuring cesium-134 and cesium-137 from the dusts collected in containers at institutes of public health throughout Japan from March to June. The analysis for Fukushima Prefecture was delayed because of the March 11 earthquake/tsunami. The measuring location was in Okuma-machi where Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is located. Of the 6,836,050 becquerels that fell [between March and June], 94% fell during March, attesting to the severity of the situation right after the accident. There was nuclear fallout from the past atmospheric nuclear testing before the Fukushima accident, but the cumulative fallout for Fukushima for the year 2009 was 0.044 becquerel.

For the entire year of 2009, Fukushima had 0.044 becquerel of radioactive cesium fallout.

In March of 2011, it had over 6.4 million becquerels. That's 145 million times more than the pre-accident level for a year, in half a month.

The Ministry of Education and Science's press release on December 14 (Japanese only) simply states the reason for the disclosure now as "The results just came in", on top of page 2.

Aside from cesium-134 and cesium-137, the press release also states the numbers for tellurium-129, tellurium-129m, and cesium-136. For the 4 months period in Fukushima, they are:

  • tellurium-129: 528,936 becquerels/square meter

  • tellurium-129m: 2,042,500 becquerels/square meter

  • cesium-136: 247,000 becquerels/square meter (March only)

(The Ministry uses Mbecquerels/square kilometer.)

A smart move by the Ministry, I suppose, to disclose the worst number (in Fukushima) first before disclosing the number for Miyagi, which I suspect to be much higher than that of Ibaraki.


Anonymous said...

People in the fallout areas with the high cesium rates, probably are experiencing some side effects. Have medical personnel come forward with any health data yet? Other than the "research" -- is there anything exposed victims can do to limit the damage, AFTER the fact? Its tragic and criminal to have held the radiation levels for nine months.

Anonymous said...

They can buy Dr. Busby's anti-radiation pills, apparently.

Anonymous said...

or donate to Gundersen for his wonderful work...

Atomfritz said...

if it were 6.83 million becquerels total of Cs on the 13782 square kilometers only we all would be glad ;-) But it is per square meter...

Total cesium fallout over Fukushima according to my calculator would be 9.4E+16 Bq, or about 2.55 million curie.

Stop. There is some mistake. Official release map said total cesium release for all 3 reactors was 3.3E+16 Bq.
That's almost three times less than fell out on Fukushima only.

What is wrong here?

My calculation? The official releases estimate?
Or was it just because the spent fuel pool fizzle releases were ommitted in the official release estimates?

(didn't find the original official releases link, only this here: )

As Chernobyl experience shows, the medical "side effects" will be undeniable only after some years, when their sheer quantity got so large that nobody can claim that they are only individual "psychological" effects where no link can be drawn to the radioactivity.
But then large part of Fukushima children will be ailing already.

kintaman said...

It makes you wonder what other info they are currently sitting on and not disclosing to the public. I say they should ALL, with no exceptions, be put into prison and then to work on the Daiichi site to manually clean up the disaster area.

shusse said...

"is there anything exposed victims can do to limit the damage, AFTER the fact?" -

They can take antioxidants and apple pectin. If I understand correctly, radionuclides release free radicals that cause cell damage and antioxidants can help. It's not some kind of short therapy course though, it's pretty much "for the rest of your lifetime" kind of thing.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous 1:17

This ongoing desaster is not a matter of jokes.

You can defend for nuke, o.k. - may be you´re ill or better be paid.
If you would be sarcastic - your kind of humor seems somewhat missleading.

God save the Japanese people.

Anonymous said...

@anon at 3:21PM, why do you think it is a joke? That's what Gundersen says at the end of a video, please donate. Money making opportunity for them, finally.

Anonymous said...

@anon 3:21
If you don't mind my saying, I think that kind of humor is far, far less misleading than the daily litany of comments on this blog that claim Japan is unfit to live in, the population will die off, and that radiation clouds will drift across the pacific and pollute the US. The situation is indeed serious enough that it does not require us to claim or believe that Fukushima children will all die off.

Anonymous said...

How misleading was it when Arnie claimed the spent fuel pool at #4 exploded and sent its contents flying all over Fukushima? How misleading was it when he claimed that Fukushima was "Chernobyl on steroids".

arevamirpal::laprimavera said...

(donation is always welcome at my blog...)

Anonymous said...

How far is Okuma from the FUKUSHIMA NPP?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:54,

Arnie said Fuel Pool at 3 exploded (not 4) in a moderated prompt critical "excursion". He still says that.

Anonymous said...

"Now They Tell Us" Mar-June. Jul-Sept.?? Nov-? That might be the report that includes the measurements they just started over the reactors various "openings". Now that some of the details are being revealed to the public, hopefully the people will search for the help they need. Here is a link to the CDC radiation emergency page.

Yosaku said...


Reactors 1-4 are actually located in Okuma.

Hi Atomfritz,

I think this relates to why your numbers won't work out. The number provided by MEXT wasn't for the entire prefecture; it was the amount of fallout measured just a few kilometers from the plant. The fallout further away in most of Fukushima (besides the Northwest trace) would be orders of magnitude less.

Anonymous said...

Hi, guys. It is seemingly "disturbing" to someone that ONGs, private citizens and/or otherwise organized forms of community trying and help others in need, without any help from governments, rather, quite often, in contrast with them, try to raise money, while they cheerily and happily APPRECIATE those who are killing us silently and are making money over that: Phillip & Morris's monopoly for chemotherapy drugs/machinery covers THE ENTIRE WORLD and, while they are there, they are also selling CIGARETTES!
May be those inclined to humor about such serious matters will not share the same mood while seating in an hospital, awaiting a chemo-treatment (because of cigarettes? Cesium? Pesticides? GMO's? Who knows?) and gratefully thanking Phillip & Morris for their "service" to the human kind, won't they?

Anonymous said...

"The Ministry of Education and Science's press release on December 14 (Japanese only) simply states the reason for the disclosure now as "The results just came in", .."

The Insults just came in, too, you know, the ones where being forced to interface with a poker-faced company rep as he insults you as a corporation and requires you to pretend he's not actually insulting you, while he is .. ?

Anonymous said...

anon 1:17 @anon 3:21
I agree with you - I also don´t know how many children will die.

It´s not necessary to die. Remember the history. This will be enough:

Missleading daily litany of comments in this blog?! I think you´re wrong.

Atomfritz said...

@ yosaku

Thank you for your feedback! However, I still do not understand what is wrong here.

The translator doesn't mention subsections of the Fukushima prefecture.
To me it looks like that it would indicate the total fallout that went down in Fukushima prefecture as whole.
The translator translated it as "Prefecture-level environmental radioactivity survey", no districts like Okuma are mentioned.

Please, can you look into this and tell me if I misunderstood something or the translation was not exact?

As I understand as it was translated, I don't find a mistake in my simple calculation.

And, to keep in mind, the official cesium release estimate for Chernobyl was in the magnitude of 10^19 Bq, while the official release at Fukushima is in the magnitude of 10^16 Bq, about thousand times less.

So my questions are still open:
Why is the fallout that fell onto Fukushima prefecture three times as large as the officially estimated total release?
So, could the actual releases be larger than the official estimates by several orders of magnitude?

Yosaku said...

Hi Atomfritz,

No worries. The Asahi Shimbun article kindly translated by ex-skf states: "The measuring location was in Okuma-machi where Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant is located."

Also, if you look at the updated fallout table provided by MEXT, you will see that the measuring point was in Futaba-gun, where Okuma is located:

Anonymous said...

>And, to keep in mind, the official cesium release estimate for Chernobyl was in the magnitude of 10^19 Bq, while the official release at Fukushima is in the magnitude of 10^16 Bq, about thousand times less.

No, it wasn't...

54 PBq C134 and 85 TBq C137, that's 139 PBq Cesium overall, hence 1.39E17.

But I share your confusion over the Fukushima numbers. That's way to high if it's supposed to be an average for the whole prefecture.

Atomfritz said...

@ anon 2:26

Thank you for finding the mistake.
I confused the whole releases (in the order of 10^19) with the Cs releases.

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