Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
So Potentially there's quite a bit more than one cubic meter of active corium and spent fuel at Fukushima. There are around 1000 rods at each reactor - either active or in the SF pool - and each rod holds around 200kg of uranium.

So that's around 200 tonnes. Per reactor.

OK, that'd give you 3 microgram per square meter per reactor that goes boom, if spread evenly across the planet. The potassium background would still be a much bigger problem for anybody not immediately downwind of the plume.

For the people who are downwind of the plume... well, that's a different story, and one where I'm not qualified to come up with even ballpark figures.

Though personally I'd be a lot more worried about Japan having to filter its drinking water for radioactive heavy metals essentially forever.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 12:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
How much of the caesium is still in the reactor?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 01:57:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It won't spread evenly across the planet. It will collect in clusters and hotspots which will never be mapped accurately, and it will make its way into the food chain, where it will be concentrated and eventually eaten, and where the Cesium and other long-lived decay products elements will eventually cause cancers, infant mortality and birth defects.

It won't kill everyone, but how many birth defects do you need before an area becomes marginally habitable?

People could move back to Chernobyl tomorrow. Most of them wouldn't die for years or decades.

That doesn't mean the Hot Zone is safe, or an ignorable thing.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sun Jun 12th, 2011 at 03:39:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]