60 million curies of radiation released from Fukushima — 50 million curies at Chernobyl

Published: June 13th, 2011 at 7:14 pm ET
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Japan Admits 3 Nuclear Meltdowns, More Radiation Leaked into Sea; U.S. Nuclear Waste Poses Deadly Risks, Democracy Now, June 10, 2011:

Emphasis Added

ROBERT ALVAREZ [former senior policy adviser to the U.S. Secretary of Energy]: Yes. As you know, the Japanese government, in its report to the IAEA, said it had underestimated the amount of radioactivity released to the atmosphere during the first week and that it amounts to roughly 40 million curies of radioactivity. What they failed to mention is that they discharged an equally large amount into the ocean, about 20 million curies, and that the—what they’re counting here is the radioactive iodine and radioactive cesium. [...]

[T]he Soviet Union and Russia basically have claimed that about 50 million curies of radioactivity were released to the environment [...]

Published: June 13th, 2011 at 7:14 pm ET
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  2. 140,000 times more Iodine-131 released at Fukushima than Three Mile Island… Using March 22 estimates April 3, 2011
  3. Fukushima is already at or above Chernobyl levels and it continues to release significant amounts of radiation, says former U.S. Energy Dept. official June 11, 2011
  4. French Gov’t: 15 main incidents of radioactivity leaks at Fukushima — Only 408 million-billion becquerels of iodine-131 released into air — Cesium at 1/3 Chernobyl level — Contamination chronic and lasting February 28, 2012
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14 comments to 60 million curies of radiation released from Fukushima — 50 million curies at Chernobyl

  • ocifferdave

    Both reported lies. They are still higher in both places than they reported. However, this qualifies the assertion that Fukushima > Chernobyl.


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    R2D2 at HP just now:
    Because I worked in Fire Protection­/HAZMAT/Em­ergency Medical Response at Naval Weapons Seal Beach, CA, Risk Mgmt./Emer­gency Response at Idaho National Engineerin­g Lab & prior to that at Hanford, the Plutonium plant up in Tri Cities area in Washington State in Emergency Response & Preparedne­ss I had remembered a report that was circulated among the Chief Officers at our Fire & Emergency Response stations on exposure to hot particles from plutonium & could not find it until I started looking & found it online.

    Because I have had my own exposure to hot particles in the lungs & developed lung cancer for which I have one left, I found this old report from 1974 that is just as relevant today we used for developing protective personal equiptment­(PPE) for Emergency Response.

    I thought about this when I realized how many millions of people who may have breathed in hot particles as I have that could develop lung cancer.

    Here is the link to the PDF File:

    Radiations Standards for Hot Particle Exposure
    http://doc­s.nrdc.org­/nuclear/f­iles/nuc_7­4021401a_0­.pdf


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  • egkanek

    anyone please justify that fukushima > Chernobyl in simple term. As seen in the film of Chernobyl, it’s much more terrible than fukushima in term of #deaths, radiation sickness, mutation, liquidator army etc. The whole area affected is even bigger than the whole island of Japan. please help explain to justify the sense. Thanks


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    • ocifferdave

      So far to my mind it seems worserer at Fukushima due to three simpme things: length of time (indef); 6 total reactors with various problems (unstable fuel pool environment, 3 melt throughs, and sea water flooding and corrosion all around); and poor ongoing overall human response.


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    • fromtokyo

      how can you say chernobyl > japan in term of mutation and sickness??
      fukushima was no immediate one big thing. it’s ongoing.
      rates will be visible in a few years, not now.

      also, there are statistics & risk models, but you don’t know how accurate they are since they rely on past data.

      e.g. I’ve read that in chernobyl after the accident they limited fish which were above 37bq/l.
      atm in Japan vegetables within 2000bq/l I-131 PLUS 500bq/l are said to be “safe” and are on the market.
      also, they don’t test on strontium, plutonium.

      since japan is an island they can do anything than lift up the dose limits cause they cannot import ALL food and because there are still quite many farmers who need the money (they can only think about their living for next month rather than about random ppl’s health in some years)
      it’s like a compromiss “eating not too much contaminated food”

      so the death/cancer rates in japan afterwards will probably be higher than estimated.


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    • Anthony Anthony

      Egkanek,

      I think with Fukushima it is important to consider we are only at the beginning of this situation rolling out. The potentiality of Fukushima to eclipse Chernobyl is profound; there is an approximate fuel load at Fukushima worth about 50 Chernobyls if and when the entire plant goes nuclear.

      I agree with your point about Chernobyl contaminating more *gross area land mass then Fukushima, but I also do not discount the reach of Japan to the Pacific in terms of comparing the two disasters. In fact, I would wager the near future reveals to us all the extent of the North American Contamination.,., and I believe that will be the worst news we would have ever imagined. Unfortunately there seems to be no available method to avoid the likelihood of the entire Fukushima fuel load becoming air, sea and land borne. Once that happens, Chernobyl will seem like a disaster of preference. Also we have to consider the accumulative effect of both disasters to the (especially) Northern Hemisphere.


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    • Godzilla

      The main difference is that Chernobyl was squashed quickly by the Soviets even though they expended many people up front – so it didn’t get worse. It was one plant that melted down, but Fukushima is 3 plus a storage pool – total more radioactive material.

      When the 3 Fuks melted down, the release SEEMS to be on the order of Chernobyl – but historians may look back and say it was much more. I knew early on that it must have been an enormous amount of atmospheric fallout, far more than we were told, when it contaminated rainwater to 80 times the acceptable limit way over on the extreme east coast of the US, thousands of miles away, when the atmosphere should have diluted it to nothing.

      Now that has settled down, but the ocean and groundwater contamination are steadily increasing, and probably will be doing so for at least a year (increasing, that is, but some of the isotopes will be there for hundreds or thousands of years even after the reactors cool).

      So if you add atmospheric and water contamination, the result is indisputably a larger event than Chernobyl EVEN AT THIS MOMENT – and it has long to go before being stopped even as much as Chernobyl was in the beginning. Chernobyl is still giving some problems, but at least it was sealed up quickly.

      Japan, you will have to learn to live without seaweed or fish in your diet, they will be too contaminated soon. I could live without seaweed, but I do like fish ….. guess I’ll have to get it from a local lake.

      A major concern might be that enough steam explosions might involve some of the other fuel on the site, and that is a total of much more fuel than Chernobyl had.


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