August 31, 2011

Fukushima radioactive caesium leaks 'equal 168 Hiroshimas'

(NaturalNews) Japan's government recently estimated that the amount of radioactive caesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster thus far is equal to that of 168 Hiroshima bombs.

Caesium-137 is a radioactive isotope of caesium which is formed as a fission product by nuclear fission. Like all radionuclides, exposure to radiation from caesium-137 results in increased risk of cancer. Everyone is exposed to very small amounts of caesium-137 in soil and water as a result of atmospheric fallout. Exposure to waste materials from contaminated sites or from nuclear accidents that disperse these radioactive materials into the air can result in cancer risks that are much higher than typical environmental exposures.

If exposures are very high, serious burns and even death can result. The magnitude of the health risk depends on exposure conditions or on factors such as the strength of the source, length of exposure, distance from the source and whether there was shielding between you and the source.

How Fukushima's radiation release compares to Hiroshima

Since the three reactors were crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami this year, the amount of caesium-137 released has been estimated at 15,000 terabecquerels so far, as reported by the Tokyo Shimbun. This is supposedly quoting a government calculation.

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