[ RadSafe ] Fukushima - "Spewing" 200 million Bq/hr vs. Soil Release of natural Rn-222 from 2 km^2

Jerry Cohen jjc105 at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 25 19:57:43 CDT 2011

Stewart---so you have now learned that radiation spews forth, and hemorhages. 
Now, if you can master:: gushing, torrencial outpouring, streaming, and 
disgorging, you may be eligible for a degree in journalism. Also forget about Ci 
& Bq. The proper measure for radiation is  the  Hiroshima bomb equivalent.

From: Stewart Farber <SAFarber at optonline.net>
To: The International Radiation Protection (Health Physics) Mailing List 
<radsafe at health.phys.iit.edu>
Sent: Thu, August 25, 2011 5:19:31 PM
Subject: [ RadSafe ] Fukushima - "Spewing" 200 million Bq/hr vs. Soil Release of 
natural Rn-222 from 2 km^2

Hello all,
I read an article recently: "Fewer Contaminants Seen Escaping From Japan Nuclear 
Plant", Aug. 18, Global Security Newswire. See:
This recent article  mentioned that the Fukushima complex was now releasing 200 
million Bq per hour. Most members of the media and public don't know a Becquerel 
from a Pickerel, but 200 million of anything must be a very huge amount that 
poses a major risk. Right??  How do you make people understand that 200E6 Bq per 
se is not the end of the world? Of course the isotopes and exposure pathways are 
vital in assessing significance of any activity released, but let's not go 

200E6 Bq got me thinking about natural background radiation, and what is 
released from soil to air.    Let me know how the following strikes you as a 
point of comparison.

An average value for Rn-222 gas flux from the earth's surface [due to the 
average concentration of U-238 in soil leading to Rn-222 gas release] is roughly 
30 milliBq/m^2/sec. Do the math and you'll see that give or take, any random 2  
km^2 of the earth's surface will release 200 million Bq per hour of Rn-222, 
equal to the total amount of radioactivity being emitted recently by the nuclear 
reactors 1, 2, and 3 at Fukushima as it is brought to a cold shutdown. As the 
Global Security Newswire article noted the reactors were "previously 
hemorrhaging five times that amount" . As we all know radiation is not released 
from a facility -- it is either "spewed" or "hemorrhaged".

Five times more than 200 million Bq would be equal to the routine Rn-222 release 
by nature from about 10 km^2 - an area 3 km x 3 km - which will continue due to 
natural radioactivity for billions of years given the half life of U-238.

Further, based on average wind farm capacity density  [ about 6.5 MWe per km^2 
], the 2 km^2 of land currently "spewing" 200 million Bq/hr will support the 
wind generation of only about 13 MW of electricity.

An area of land necessary to site and generate 2,000 MW[e] of wind power [an 
area of 285 km^2  or 11 miles by 11 miles ] would be needed to equal the 
pre-accident combined output of Fukushima 1, 2, and 3. This 285 km^2 of land to 
site 2,000 MW[e] of wind generation will release about 32 billion Bq of  Rn-222 
per hour.  32 billion Bq of Rn-222 per hour from nature being "spewed" from a 
windfarm generating 2,000 MWe vs. only about 200 million Bq from Fukushima 1, 2, 
3. Do we need to evacuate the area around any large windfarm?

Thoughts on the above comparisons?

Stewart Farber, MS Public Health
SAFarber at optonline.net
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