Comparing Fukushima releases with Chernobyl An Update for the 1st Anniversary

Publication date

PDF, 164 KB.


Fukushima worse than Chernobyl for radioactive emissions

Press Release 11.03.2012

A report by Prof Chris Busby released today from Green Audit uses the most recent (March 1st 2012) data published by the Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway, to show that the Fukushima catastrophe released 9 times more of the  radioactive gas Xe-133 to the atmosphere than Chernobyl accident did in 1986. Using the most authoritative and agreed estimated releases of the nuclide Caesium 137 only, he shows that the releases from Fukushima and Chernobyl are, in fact comparable. This gives the lie to the many statements in the media that the releases from Fukushima are 1/10th those from Chernobyl. Prof Busby’s report also uses theoretical arguments and published data from standard works on radiation inventories of nuclear power plants to show that these estimates and findings are reasonable.

It follows that the Fukushima catastrophe was more serious in terms of its releases of these two nuclides than Chernobyl. This is not surprising since there were three reactors breached at Fukushima to one at Chernobyl of equivalent capacity, said Busby.  Total Fukushima releases exceeded 2 x 1019 Bq (20EBq) and were overall more than twice the releases from Chernobyl. The high population density of the area contaminated makes this a more serious issue for health than the Chernobyl releases. These findings support the early assessment made by Prof Busby in March and later in August 2011 and the many statements he made to the BBC, ITV, and Russia Today and show that those many pro nuclear experts who talked don the seriousness of the catastrophe were wrong.

Busby draws attention to the fact that a large number of radionuclides were released which were not measured or listed, including the beta emitters Tritium, Barium 140 and Lanthanum 140, and including the alpha emitters Plutonium and Uanium none of which can be measured with normal equipment.

Busby said: Of course what we are really interested in here is the health outcome, which in my opinion will be worse than Chernobyl’s since the population density in the areas in Japan where these substances were dispersed is greater than Chernobyl. Those who mislead the public on this issue of health, who use the outdated and incorrect ICRP risk model, are worse than those who misled on the basis of the comparison with the releases since at least if we concede this, people can be evacuated and the health consequences will be reduced. All the evidence points to an error in the ICRP model of three orders of magnitude for internal exposures to the nuclides released by Fukushima, errors that have been conceded by their outgoing Scientific Secretary, Jack Valentin and errors that will be expressed in the population of Japan in t e next ten years in very real terms.

Publication year