Friday, August 26, 2011

Fukushima caesium leaks 'equal 168 Hiroshimas'

Japan's government estimates the amount of radioactive caesium-137 released by the Fukushima nuclear disaster so far is equal to that of 168 Hiroshima bombs.

Government nuclear experts, however, said the World War II bomb blast and the accidental reactor meltdowns at Fukushima, which has seen ongoing radiation leaks but no deaths so far, were beyond comparison.

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. more