More than 8,000 km² in Japan contaminated with cesium-137 at 30,000 Bq/m² — “Size may increase in the future”

Published: September 14th, 2011 at 5:19 am ET


Fukushima cesium contamination widespread but less than Chernobyl, Asahi, September 14, 2011:

An extensive area of more than 8,000 square kilometers has accumulated cesium 137 levels of 30,000 becquerels per square meter or more after the accident at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, according to Asahi Shimbun estimates. […]

The Asahi Shimbun calculated the size of the contaminated area based on a distribution map of accumulated cesium 137 levels measured from aircraft, which was released by the science ministry on Sept. 8.

The estimated size may increase in the future because the distribution map will be subject to corrections and because it currently covers only five prefectures. […]


  • Fukushima Prefecture: About 6,000 square kilometers
  • Northern Tochigi Prefecture: About 1,370 square kilometers
  • Southern Miyagi Prefecture: 380 square kilometers
  • Ibaraki Prefecture: About 260 square kilometers
Published: September 14th, 2011 at 5:19 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Gov’t Survey: Shinjuku, Tokyo has third highest cesium levels of all testing locations throughout Japan — “Large amounts of radioactive dust fell in Tokyo” November 27, 2011
  2. Officials “Aghast”: High levels of cesium detected far from Fukushima — Radioactivity up sharply in mushrooms 100s of kilometers away — Over 2,000% increase in Tochigi November 21, 2012
  3. Cesium in fish off Chiba coast exceeds radiation limit for first time — 200 kilometers from Fukushima plant — Due east of Tokyo February 18, 2013
  4. Asahi: “Significant quantity” of cesium detected along West Coast of Japan — Concentrations rise as it gets deeper September 11, 2012
  5. Asahi: Serious concerns about whether depopulation now a reality — Entire mountainsides to be removed? Bleak hardly does justice to assessments of Fukushima Pref. future March 11, 2012

41 comments to More than 8,000 km² in Japan contaminated with cesium-137 at 30,000 Bq/m² — “Size may increase in the future”

  • maaa

    8,000 square kilometers. How many solar panels can be built on that and produce how much energy?

    • Steven Steven

      That is a very good point maaa. In fact with that level of contamination they might even produce useful power at night.

      When is someone ‘respectable’ going to do the math on nuclear and realise it just isn’t cost effective. Politicians like saving money – here’s a tip: ditch nuclear and save billions.

  • zaadik

    At 10% conversion efficiency (a bit optimistic) you get 80 TW in mid-summer with a clear sky above.

    But… most of that surface is rough terrain, mountainous so you can’t really build there, you don’t get sun at night, you get half the energy or less in winter provided it doesn’t snow on your panels, fog, hurricanes, monsoon etc.

    So let’s eyeball it to maybe a tenth of that again (being generous here I think), provided you can store/use all of it as it’s being made (big if).

    That’s pretty close to the total power output of Fukushima Daiichi and Daini. For ten years, after which your panels start to degrade significantly. 20 years out, you have about 60-70% of capacity left.

    Your point was?

  • Darth


    8,000 square km

    1 km = 0.621 miles

    8,000 km^2 = 8,000 x 0.621 x 0.621 = 3,085 mi^2

    3,085 mi^2 = 55.55 mi x 55.55 mi plot of land

    1 mile = 5,280 feet

    3,085 mi^2 = 55.55 x 5,280 x 55.55 x 5,280 = 86 x 10^9 ft^2

    100 watts/ft^2

    86 x 10^9 ft^2 x 100 watts/ft^2 = 8.6 x 10^12

    That is 8.6 Terra watts

    Assume 14% conversion efficiency at beginning of life and 10% conversion efficiency at end of life or an average of 12% gives 1 Terra watt.

    Assume 1/3 of a day average collection given weather, time of year, etc. – this yields 0.333 Terra watt or 1/10 of the total energy consumption for a year in the USA.

    3.34 Terra Watt – average total (gas, electricity, etc.) power consumption of the US in 2005

    Your point was…

  • larry-andrew-nils

    a lot of stuff to mine out of the ground there tree-huggers.

    solar cells are not so good as hydro-electric

    we can build something to separate oxygen and hydrogen and then we’ll be powered up without pollution.

    • Darth


      I agree.

      The only good green solution is to get rid of all these humans. It is unsustainable. Perhaps 0.5 billion is sustainable.

      We have bred ourselves into a corner.

      All that’s left now is the terrible slide into the abyss.

    • stock

      separation of hydrogen and oxygen takes energy, right around the same energy released when burning hydrogen and oxygen to create an energy source and water.

      It is a net losing proposition.

      Of course some magic trick could appear, but on these elemental levels, there aren’t too many (none) magic tricks.

      The only magic trick is taking uranium or thorium and getting it to partially decay its mass into pure energy, then you could heat water, make steam, and run a turbine….hey there is the answer! Plentiful, clean energy. Uh maybe no! LOLO (laughing out loud ouch).

      PV panels take .6years of energy to produce themselves, then they produce for 25 to 35 years, that is a pretty good energy payback.

  • catweazel

    8000 sqr km are 8000 * 1000 * 1000 sqr m .
    so 8 billion sqr m * 30000 Bequerel means 240 terabequerel detected (is that correct?). thats more than has been admitted by now? if yes: this is only the cesium. if no: this is only the cesium

    • Darth

      Chernobyl is estimated to have released 85 Petabequerels.

      Your calculation looks correct to me – it is 0.24 Petabequerels.

      I believe the latest dribbled out number by TEPCO is that this site spewed 15 Petabequerels – including land, sea and air.

      • Steven Steven

        The only real way to know is by examination of what’s left of the fuel. This was the case at TMI and also Chernobyl. We’ll be flying blind here until they 1: find the missing fuel and 2: conduct a survey on it.

  • selfsovereign


    Separating hydrogen from water has already been figured out.

    With no tech available, simply place sea salt in a parabolic mirror, heat to 500+F and drop into a bottle of water, cover the bottle with a balloon, the balloon inflates with hydrogen.

    Or do it like tepco, pour saltwater into a full flippin meltdowned reactor and watch all the hydrgen blow everything to shat.

    The most interesting form of energy generation I have found ( – new zealand) is a french guy back in the day would put wood chips in a sealed container and bury it for 18months. The sealed container produces combustable offgassing that is piped into the home for heating and cooking. Also, water pipes wrapped around the sealed container pump cold water,heated by decomposition from within the sealed container, to deliver hot water to ones home. Lastly the gas produced by the sealed container is bottled with a compressor and used to power his truck,forklift and other internal combustion engines,

    Best of all, the only by-product is organic compost.

    ALL solutions ALREADY exist

  • catweazel

    so they emitted 15 petabequerel and they found on land 0.24 or above, which calculates to 120% of japan radioactive if evenly distributed. (8000 sqr km = 2% of area, 60 times = 120 %).

    and the plant is still emitting radioactivity

    cool technology.

    back to reading mode. msm in germany had 4-5 articles about fuku and japan. maybe for christmas there will be charity articles.

    • arclight arclight

      Bit of an old link here…mention totals of bequerals ejected…finally hints at Chernobyl being nearer to fukushima than three mile island!!
      “IEER states that “Radioactive iodine releases from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi reactors may exceed those of Three Mile Island by over 100,000 times.” It adds that “the three damaged reactors and four spent fuel pools at Fukushima Daiichi contain far more long-lived radioactivity, notably cesium-137, than the Chernobyl reactor.”
      “IEER head Arjun Makhijani has offered his assessment of this alarming data to the Asia Pacific Journal: “The ZAMG model is a very useful effort that provides an independent estimate of releases of iodine-131 and cesium-137. Very large amounts of these radioactive materials have been released that bear comparison with Chernobyl (20 percent for iodine 131 and 20 to 60 percent for cesium-137, according to ZAMG). The estimates made by the radiation protection authority in France (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, or IRSN) are somewhat lower but still very high. IRSN estimates the iodine-131 releases up to March 22 as 90 petabequerels (PBq), while ZAMG estimates them to be about 350 PBq, or almost four times higher. The differences in cesium-137 estimates are between 1.7 and 5 times. This may be due to use of measurements taken from different places and different meteorological models or possibly reporting of all cesium and iodine isotopes by ZAMG under the rubrics of iodine-131 and cesium-137…

      • arclight arclight

        ……cesium-137. Moreover, the Austrian estimate is through March 16 only, while the IRSN estimate is up to March 22. Further, the IRSN states that iodine releases are about 10 percent of Chernobyl; apparently the IRSN is using different Chernobyl iodine-131 release estimates (900 PBq)than the ZAMG (1,780 PBq)..It is true that there is some uncertainty in Chernobyl emissions, especially since the Soviet estimates of the time were considerable underestimates, but it would be helpful if the French and Austrian modelers share model results and reconcile the estimates of releases and also settle on a single value for Chernobyl comparisons to avoid confusion.”
        “Whatever the ultimate estimates, it is clear that the Fukushima accident is far beyond the U.S. Three Mile accident in 1979 in every respect, and much closer to the more terrible Chernobyl accident…….”
        “TEPCO, the Japanese government, and other organizations have been getting more open with data, but many important documents are not being translated quickly and there is little effort to bring the findings together in an easily understood way. See here for TEPCO’s analysis of the radioactive water in the No. 3 reactor building. Satoko Norimatsu has provided English translations of the compounds being measured.
        Cobalt 60
        Technetium 99m
        Iodine 131
        Cesium 134
        Cesium 136
        Cesium 137
        Barium 137
        Lanthanum 140
        Cerium 144”

        • arclight arclight

          @catweazel you may have to revise your figures 🙂

          • arclight arclight

            and if you think thats mad



            “By far the largest of these sites is the reprocessing plant at Sellafield which has discharged more than 117 million Petabequerels of beta-emitting and 1.35 million petabequerels of alpha-emitting radioisotopes to the sea since 1952.

            In terms of beta- deposition density, Sellafield has contaminated the Irish Sea more than ten times more than the weapons fallout. In terms of the alpha emitters, Plutonium and Americium, the plant’s releases contribute more than a thousand times the fallout (Busby, 1995: 96). In addition, the radioactivity is not uniformly distributed. Research shows (Assinder,1983, Baxter, 1989) that radioisotopes from Sellafield become concentrated on the finest particle grain sizes and where these particles become concentrated then so does the radiation. This means that it is local tidal energy that decides the level of pollution.”


            beta emmitting isotopes…. hmmmmmmm!

          • arclight arclight

            oh and alpha emmitting (nearly forgot about them…its so easy!! 🙂 )

          • acid Lab acid Lab

            arclight, stop posting entire articles.

            post a brief summary and the link.

        • arclight arclight

          @ acidlab post something useful!! 🙂

        • arclight arclight

          @acidlab or you could comment on the post content! 🙂 of course im not telling my grandad how to suck eggs here… leave me alone im busy… or make a useful comment!

          • StillJill StillJill

            +10 Arclight

          • acid Lab acid Lab


            post a brief description of the article and then the link.

            what you’re doing is purposely avoiding the character limit by a direct copy/paste of entire articles across multiple posts.

            stop posting your spam.

          • Jebus Jebus

            @acid Lab
            Try posting something of relevance yourself, instead of just being the Blog Nazi here. Everyone here is more tired of your rhetoric, thinking you are large and in charge, than the informative and relevant articles that arclight posts.

            In otherwords get off your HIGH horse acid Lab, pun intended…

  • Hemisfear311 Hemisfear311

    Geothermal power plants like the ones in Iceland could deliver a lot of the energy needed in Japan. In fact Japan has the potential to become the world largest producer of geothermal electricity, according to this Bloomberg article from June 6th.

  • catweazel

    chernobyl was fuel embedded in graphite which burned away, so it was airborne and (a guess) it never burned all away. but in fuku it is the raw stuff now mixed when molten with moderator rods, cement and steel. maybe they fear the big bang, all moderators and cement molten/vaporized away and a dense ball of fissioning material left. and maybe maybe some supercomputer already calculated that the neutron flux inside may reach nuke-bomb level. when all the fast decaying stuf is gone the long decaying PU is left alone and some sort of critical mass may be reached. so there are many timeframes for tepco. the china syndrome is the wrong approach, the material will never melt through to the other side it will stuck in the middle of earth (what may be good or may be bad). but before that happens it will be under high pressure down in the earth. ever checked what makes a fission bomb? very intense neutron flux by just pressing two undercritical halfballs of PU together for just a millionst of a second by geometric explosion around. and there are only a few kilos needed. guess they had a hard work to rewrite their simulations to tons of PU in wet soil.

  • catweazel

    and to avoid comments: yes i guess to much.

  • lokay5 lokay5

    “….in fuku it is the raw stuff now mixed when molten with moderator rods, cement and steel. maybe they fear the big bang, all moderators and cement molten/vaporized away and a dense ball of fissioning material left. and maybe maybe some supercomputer already calculated that the neutron flux inside may reach nuke-bomb level.”

    And if the corium DOES go super-critical and does explode in a nuclear chain reaction, the pro nukers will AGAIN be right; “A nuclear reactor cannot explode like a nuclear bomb”.
    They’ll be right because the corium wasn’t IN a nuclear reactor when it exploded.


  • catweazel

    yeah. but fuel without control is new land for science.

  • catweazel

    the point is: corium is a nice word. but it is a changing mass all the time

  • Melted corium soounds like a cool energy drink.. me thinks I will have another please, and one to go to take to meee kiddeeess.

    What we have here is MULTIPLE OUT OF CONTROL NUCLEAR FIRES, spewing RADIOACTIVE CLOUDS OF CANCER CAUSING toxins around the globe, poisoning everyone.

    Have another helping anyone? How about some whipped cream with that?

  • These nuclear apologist experts seem to be so sure that nothing else ‘bad’ will happen… and this is just a minor hiccup in a long and growing list of nuke plants to come, but it has never really killed or hurt anyone.. kind of like maybe just a wee sunburn is all that it does..

    After all, Ann Coulter says more radiation is good for you… They should bottle that basement water and ship some to her and the Faux News folks to drink on camera, DAILY. Yup, and then sell it to all of the folks watching, plus all of the nuke apologists, who seem to think that more radiation is ‘healthy’ and ‘good’ for everyone.

    They also said Fukushima could never happen, not even ONCE.

    Well, now it has happened, and it happened MULTIPLE times….

    What’s next? The government says stable shutdown ‘soon’. Others say China Syndrome coming..

    Who really knows? This is uncharted territory…