Cesium-137 deposition and contamination of Japanese soils due to the Fukushima nuclear accident , Yasunari et. al

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Cesium-137 deposition and contamination of Japanese soils due to the Fukushima nuclear accident

Teppei J. Yasunaria,1 Andreas Stohlb, Ryugo S. Hayano c, John F. Burkhart b,d,
Sabine Eckhardt b, and Tetsuzo Yasunari e

a Universities Space Research Association, Goddard Earth SciencesTechnology and Research, Columbia, MD 21044;
b Norwegian Institute for Air Research, P.O. Box 100, N-2027 Kjeller, Norway;
c Department of Physics, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bukyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan;
d Sierra Nevada Research Institute, University of California, Merced, 5200 North Lake Road, Merced, CA 95343; and
e Hydrospheric Atmospheric Research Center, Nagoya University, Nagoya, Aichi 464-8601, Japan Edited by James E. Hansen, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, and approved October 5, 2011 (received for review July 25, 2011)

The largest concern on the cesium-137 (137 Cs) deposition and its
soil contamination due to the emission from the Fukushima Daiichi
Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) showed up after a massive quake on
March 11, 2011. Cesium-137 (137Cs) with a half-life of 30.1 y causes
the largest concerns because of its deleterious effect on agriculture
and stock farming, and, thus, human life for decades. Removal
of 137 Cs contaminated soils or land use limitations in areas where
removal is not possible is, therefore, an urgent issue. A challenge
lies in the fact that estimates of 137 Cs emissions from the Fukush-
ima NPP are extremely uncertain, therefore, the distribution of
137 Cs in the environment is poorly constrained. Here, we estimate
total 137 Cs deposition by integrating daily observations of
137 Cs deposition in each prefecture in Japan with relative deposition dis-
tribution patterns from a Lagrangian particle dispersion model, FLEXPART. We show that
137 Cs strongly contaminated the soils in large areas of eastern and northeastern Japan, whereas western Japan was sheltered by mountain ranges. The soils around Fukush-
ima NPP and neighboring prefectures have been extensively con-
taminated with depositions of more than 100,000 and 10,000 MBq km −2,
respectively. Total 137Cs depositions over two domains: (i) the Japan Islands and the surrounding ocean (130–150 °E and 30–46 °N)and, (ii) the Japan Islands, were estimated to be more than 5.6 and 1.0 PBq, respectively. We hope our 137 Cs deposition maps will
help to coordinate decontamination efforts and plan regulatory measures in Japan.

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