Caesium at Fukushima

Two days ago Tokyo Electric Power Co informed the world that in samples of groundwater from under the Fukushima nuclear power plant they found (per litre) 37 giga becquerels of caesium-134 and 93 giga becquerels of caesium-137. The well from which the samples were taken is only fifty yards frpm the coast and these readings are the highest recorded of caesium. The high levels may be as a result of cracks in the concrete floor discovered near the tanks that store radioactive contaminated water. Caesium-134 is used in hydrology as a measure of caesium output by the nuclear power industry.

At Chernoby, caesium was one of many radionuclides released and therefore it is not possible to ascribe any of the observed health effects to radioactive cesium specifically. There is evidence of the health effects in humans exposed to radioactive caesium from other places which range from nausea to death. In 1987, in Lilo in Georgia 250 people, including children, were accidently exposed to radiation an activity of 50.9 terra bequerels of caesium-137. Some showed signs of acute radiation syndrome, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many with acute radiation syndrome developed bone marrow failure and 4 of these died.

TEPCO continues to attempt to render the Fukishima plant safe.

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