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Isotope signatures from Japan

Dear Reader,

I have been able to track down details of the soil contamination which has occurred at the Tepco site in Japan, while soil contamination with radioisotopes is clearly not a good thing. The isotope signature does give us some thing to be glad about, I have made bar charts of the isotope signatures of the Chernobyl release and the soil contamination in a playground near to the stricken Japanese reactor. As the Chernobyl data was the total activity which escaped from the plant while the Japanese data was for the level of contamination (Bq per kilo of soil). Below is the bar chart, here I used data obtained by the Japanese Chemical Analysis Center.

Radioisotope signatures of the two accidents (Fission products)

I adjusted the Chernobyl data so both graphs have the same sized bar for Cs-137. The first thing to look at is the Sr to Cs ratio. The Fukushima accident has released far nicer Sr:Cs ratio than Chernobyl. While Cs-137 and Cs-134 are not good for you, Sr-90 is much worse. It has a longer biological half life, and it concentrates in a radiosensitive part of the anatomy (the bones). So the fact that less Sr-90 has got out is good news.
 
At Chernobyl Mo-99 and Ru-106 escaped from the reactor (Tc-99m is the daughter of Mo-99), this is likely to have occurred as a result of the Chernobyl fuel being heated in air by the fire. The Mo would have got oxidised to form MoO3 which is volatile, while the Ru was converted into RuO4 which is a gas. An alternative route out of the reactor at Chernobyl was the steam explosion which flung fuel out of the reactor, no such dire explosion occurred in Japan. Also neither of these isotopes were found in the soil in Japan then it is good news.
 
I will comment on the other data which is from the JAEA in the near future.
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