Post-accident sporadic releases of airborne radionuclides from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant site — Environmental Science & Technology

” ABSTRACT: The Fukushima nuclear accident (March 11, 2011) caused the widespread contamination of Japan by direct deposition of airborne radionuclides. Analysis of weekly air filters has revealed sporadic releases of radionuclides long after the Fukushima Daiichi reactors were stabilized. One major discharge was observed in August 2013 in monitoring stations north of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP). During this event, an air monitoring station in this previously scarcely contaminated area suddenly reported 137Cs activity levels that were 30-fold above the background. Together with atmospheric dispersion and deposition simulation, radionuclide analysis in soil indicated that debris removal operations conducted on the FDNPP site on August 19, 2013 are likely to be responsible for this late release of radionuclides. One soil sample in the center of the simulated plume exhibited a high 90Sr contamination (78 ± 8 Bq kg−1 ) as well as a high 90Sr/137Cs ratio (0.04); both phenomena have usually been observed only in very close vicinity around the FDNPP. We estimate that through the resuspension of highly contaminated particles in the course of these earthmoving operations, gross 137Cs activity of ca. 2.8 × 1011 Bq has been released. ”

by Georg Steinhauser, Tamon Niisoe, Kouji H. Harada, Katsumi Shozugawa, Stephanie Schneider, Hans-Arno Synal, Clemens Walther, Marcus Christl, Kenji Nanba, Hirohiko Ishikawa, and Akio Koizumi

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