September 5th, 2011
(MediaRoots) – An extremely harrowing aspect of the Fukushima meltdown is the amount of radiation that has been expelled and will continue to be released into the atmosphere as a result. A recent report from the Japanese government states that the amount of radioactive caesium-137 released by the disaster is so far equivalent to that of 168 Hiroshima nuclear bombs, and that 34 different locations around Fukushima already exceed the radiation standards of inhabitability used for the Chernobyl disaster. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states the followingabout caesium-137:
“External exposure to large amounts of Cs-137 can cause burns, acute radiation sickness, and even death. Exposure to Cs-137 can increase the risk for cancer because of exposure to high-energy gamma radiation. Internal exposure to Cs-137, through ingestion or inhalation, allows the radioactive material to be distributed in the soft tissues, especially muscle tissue, exposing these tissues to the beta particles and gamma radiation and increasing cancer risk.”
As scary as this seems, it’s important to put it into perspective. There is nothing much we can do about what is going on in Japan right now, but there are things we can do to reduce the risk of over exposure to our bodies by continuing to be healthy and conscious consumers.
AFP- The amount of caesium-137 released since the three reactors were crippled by the March 11 quake and tsunami has been estimated at 15,000 tera becquerels, the Tokyo Shimbun reported, quoting a government calculation.
That compares with the 89 tera becquerels released by “Little Boy”, the uranium bomb the United States dropped on the western Japanese city in the final days of World War II, the report said.
The estimate was submitted by Prime Minister Naoto Kan’s cabinet to a lower house committee on promotion of technology and innovation, the daily said.
The government, however, argued that the comparison was not valid.
While the Hiroshima bomb claimed most of its victims in the intense heatwave of a mid-air nuclear explosion and the highly radioactive fallout from its mushroom cloud, no such nuclear explosions hit Fukushima.
There, the radiation has seeped from molten fuel inside reactors damaged by hydrogen explosions.
“An atomic bomb is designed to enable mass-killing and mass-destruction by causing blast waves and heat rays and releasing neutron radiation,” the Tokyo Shimbun daily quoted a government official as saying. “It is not rational to make a simple comparison only based on the amount of isotopes released.”
Read more about Fukushima Caesium Leaks ‘Equal 168 Hiroshimas’
Source: Media Roots