TERRAPUB Geochemical Journal
Back

Geochemical Journal, Vol. 46 (No. 1), pp. e1-e9, 2012

EXPRESS LETTER

Dispersion of artificial caesium-134 and -137 in the western North Pacific one month after the Fukushima accident

Makio C. Honda,1* Tatsuo Aono,2 Michio Aoyama,3 Yasunori Hamajima,4 Hajime Kawakami,5 Minoru Kitamura,6 Yukio Masumoto,7 Yasumasa Miyazawa,7 Masayuki Takigawa7 and Toshiro Saino1

11Research Institute for Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan
2Research Center for Radiation Protection, National Institute of Radiological Sciences, 4-9-1 Anagawa, Inage-ku, Chiba 263-8555, Japan
3Geochemical Research Department, Meteorological Research Institute, Nagamine 1-1, Ibaraki 305-0052, Japan
4Low Level Radioactivity Laboratory, Kanazawa University, Wake, Nomi, Ishikawa 923-1224, Japan
5Mutsu Institute for Oceanography, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 690 Sekinehama, Sekine, Mutsu 035-0022, Japan
6Institute of Biogeoscience, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 2-15 Natsushima, Yokosuka 237-0061, Japan
7Research Institute of Global Change, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, 3173-25 Showa-machi, Kanazawa, Yokohama 236-0001, Japan

(Received October 15, 2011; Accepted November 17, 2011; Online published January 16, 2012)

Abstract: In March 2011, an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FNPP-AC) was caused by the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. Here we show the distribution of artificial caesium-134 and -137 (134Cs and 137Cs) in the western North Pacific one month after the FNPP-AC. In surface seawater, 137Cs concentrations were from several times to two orders of magnitude higher than before the FNPP-AC. 134Cs was also detected, and in many seawater samples the 134Cs/137Cs ratio was about 1. These findings indicate that radionuclides from the FNPP dispersed quickly in the western North Pacific. 134Cs and 137Cs concentrations in suspended solids and zooplankton at stations K2 and S1 were also one to two orders higher than before the accident. Numerical simulation results show that the higher caesium observed in the western North Pacific one month after the FNPP-AC was transported not only by diffusion and advection of seawater but also via the atmosphere as an aerosol.
Key words: Fukushima, caesium, western North Pacific, zooplankton, suspended solids


[Full text] (PDF 2.2 MB)