October 31, 2011
The destroyed Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan was responsible for the biggest discharge of radioactive material into the ocean in history, a study from a French nuclear safety institute said.
The radioactive cesium that flowed into the sea from the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant was 20 times the amount estimated by its owner, Tokyo Electric Power Co., according to the study by the Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety, which is funded by the French government.
It’s the second report released in a week calling into question estimates from Japan’s government and the operator of the plant that was damaged in the March earthquake and tsunami. The Fukushima station may have emitted more than double the company’s estimate of atmospheric release at the height of the worst civil atomic crisis since Chernobyl in 1986, according to a study in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal.
The oceanic study estimates 27,000 terabecquerels of radioactive cesium 137 leaked into the sea from the Fukushima plant, north of Tokyo.