Title: EGU2012: tracking Fukushima’s radioactive dust
Author: Liz Kalaugher
Date: Apr 25, 2012
As the first big nuclear accident in the vicinity of a good measurement network, the events at Japan’s Fukushima Dai-ichi power plant in March 2011 enabled scientists to find out more about the spread of radioactive dust and its associated health risks. That’s according to Masatoshi Yamauchi of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, speaking to the press at the EGU 2012 meeting in Vienna.
[...] After the first problems at the plant on March 11th, the potential gradient measurements at Kakioka [150 km southwest of the plant] dropped by an order of magnitude; ionising radiation increases atmospheric electrical conductivity and decreases potential gradient.
The potential gradient also dropped on March 14th and March 20th. Yamauchi believes the March 14th drop was due to contamination by surface winds, which left radioactive fallout suspended near the Earth’s surface. This is potentially a health risk, especially for children as they breathe closer to the ground.
The March 20th drop was probably down to transport by a relatively low-altitude wind followed by rain, which caused the dust to settle on the ground. [...]
Read the report here
UPDATE: Study: Radioactive 'black rain' HELPED Japan after meltdowns -- Substantial amount of fallout was floating near ground, and rainfall "ceased its re-suspension" -- Area was at "High Risk" beforehand
Published: April 25th, 2012 at 11:15 am ET