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Typhoons spread Fukushima fallout, study warns

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Posted November 29, 2013
The nuclear reactor four unit building is seen from coastal side of Tokyo Electric Power Corp.'s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear powe
The nuclear reactor four unit building is seen from coastal side of Tokyo Electric Power Corp.’s Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant in Okuma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan on November 7, 2013
Typhoons that hit Japan each year are helping spread radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster into the country’s waterways, researchers say.

Contaminated soil gets washed away by the high winds and rain and deposited in streams and rivers, a joint study by France’s Climate and Environmental Science laboratory (LSCE) and Tsukuba University in Japan showed.

An earthquake-sparked tsunami slammed into the Fukushima plant in March 2011, sending reactors into meltdown and sparking the worst atomic accident in a generation.

After the accident a large number of radioactive particles were flung into the atmosphere, dispersing cesium particles which typically cling to soils and sediment.

Studies have shown that soil erosion can move the radioactive varieties of cesium-134 and 137 from the northern mountains near Fukushima into rivers, and then out into the Pacific Ocean.

“There is a definite dispersal towards the ocean,” LSCE researcher Olivier Evrard said Wednesday.

The typhoons “strongly contribute” to soil dispersal, said Evrard, though it can be months later, after the winter snow melts, that contamination actually passes into rivers.

Read more at: Phys.org

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