The Fukushima disaster released more radiation than reported by the Japanese government. A study was carried out that combined radioactivity data from across the world and concluded that the amount released in March was much greater than what the Japanese government had said.
Comparison of Radiation Release Estimates
- Japanese government: 1.1 x 1019 Bq
- New study: 1.7 x 1019 Bq
- Japanese government: 1.5 x 1016 Bq
- New study: 3.5 x 1016 Bq
In addition to reporting these low radiation release estimates, TEPCO’s failure to take prompt action following the accident resulted in the unnecessary release of long-lasting contaminant caesium-137. This is a big safety concern because caesium-137 is absorbed by the body, and remains in the environment for decades.
Tokyo Spared from Disaster
The new study also shows that Tokyo could have suffered far worse if the wind was blowing a different direction after the accident. In the first few days the wind was blowing out to sea, but on the afternoon of March 14th the wind turned inland and blew radioactive caesium-137 rain clouds into the country. Japan’s central mountain regions and the area Northwest of the Fukushima plant received radioactive rain, while Tokyo was lucky enough to escape the fallout.
The study is available online as a PDF link.