Saturday, November 19, 2011

Viz: Fukushima radiation spread: wide dispersion and localized hot spots

Yesterday's issue of PNAS contains two papers that are first steps in tracking the radiation released by the meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant. Both contain bits of good news: a substantial amount of the radiation went out over the Pacific, and most of the remainder is concentrated immediately northwest of the crippled reactors. However, they also indicate that some isotopes released by the damaged reactors were spread fairly widely across the country, raising the prospect of localized hot spots.

The two papers take somewhat different approaches to understanding where the radiation went. One of them actually involves environmental sampling of the radiation emitted by five different isotopes that were released from Fukushima. The second builds an atmospheric model of the isotopes' spread, and calibrates the model against real-world data.

Read the rest of this article...

Read the comments on this post