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Estimated Release of Radiogens from Fukushima Plant Lowered

Wed, 08/24/2011 - 6:01am
the Associated Press

In this Monday, Aug. 1, 2011 photo released by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Tuesday, Aug. 2, a worker in protective gear measures radiation levels near a duct connected to a ventilation stack between UnitTOKYO, Aug. 24 (Kyodo) — The amount of radioactive substances emitted into the atmosphere from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is now estimated at 570,000 terabecquerels, down from an earlier estimate of 630,000 terabecquerels, the chairman of the Nuclear Safety Commission said Wednesday.

Given a large margin of error in an estimate of this kind, however, the figure "may change greatly" as more data on the nuclear accident become available, Haruki Madarame said.

The Nuclear Industrial and Safety Agency separately estimates the total amount of radioactive substances released into the air from the plant at 770,000 terabecquerels.

In the Chernobyl nuclear accident of 1986, an estimated 5.2 million terabecquerels of radioactive substances were discharged into the atmosphere.

The earlier estimate was revised based on new data on the release of radioactive substances in the four days from March 12, when the first of a series of explosions occurred following the earthquake and tsunami that hit the plant on March 11.

According to the recalculated estimate by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, 130,000 terabecquerels of iodine 131 and 11,000 terabecquerels of cesium 137 were emitted into the air from the nuclear plant in Fukushima Prefecture from March 11 through April 5, Madarame said.

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