by Riitta-Leena Inki
However, a study just published in the scientific journal Chemosphere, involving scientists from Japan, Finland, France, and the U.S., addresses these issues. The team, led by Dr. Satoshi Utsunomiya, Ryohei Ikehara, and Kazuya Morooka (Kyushu University), developed a method in 2018 that allows scientists to quantify the amount of cesium-rich microparticles in soil and sediment samples.
Three regions of interest within 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site
Dr. Utsunomiya says, “Using our method, we have determined the number and amount of cesium-rich microparticles in surface soils from a wide range of locations up to 60 km from the Fukushima Daiichi site. Our work reveals three regions of particular interest. In two regions to the northwest of the damaged nuclear reactors, the number of cesium-rich microparticles per gram of soil ranged between 22 and 101, and the amount of total soil cesium radioactivity associated with the microparticles ranged from 15–37 percent. In another region to the southwest of the nuclear reactors, 1–8 cesium-rich microparticles were found per gram of soil, and these microparticles accounted for 27–80 percent of the total soil cesium radioactivity.”
Prof. Gareth Law (University of Helsinki), a co-author of the study, says that the paper “reports regions where the cesium-rich microparticles are surprisingly abundant and account for a large amount of soil radioactivity. This data, and application of our technique to a wider range of samples could help inform clean-up efforts.” Utsunomiya also added that the work “provides important understanding on cesium-rich microparticle dispersion dynamics, which can be used to assess risks and environmental impacts in inhabited regions.”
Read more at Distribution and origin of highly radioactive microparticles in Fukushima revealed