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Keywords:

  • Fukushima nuclear accident;
  • chemical transport model;
  • radioactive materials

[1] To understand the atmospheric behavior of radioactive materials emitted from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after the nuclear accident that accompanied the great Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on 11 March 2011, we simulated the transport and deposition of iodine-131 and cesium-137 using a chemical transport model. The model roughly reproduced the observed temporal and spatial variations of deposition rates over 15 Japanese prefectures (60−400 km from the plant), including Tokyo, although there were some discrepancies between the simulated and observed rates. These discrepancies were likely due to uncertainties in the simulation of emission, transport, and deposition processes in the model. A budget analysis indicated that approximately 13% of iodine-131 and 22% of cesium-137 were deposited over land in Japan, and the rest was deposited over the ocean or transported out of the model domain (700 × 700 km2). Radioactivity budgets are sensitive to temporal emission patterns. Accurate estimation of emissions to the air is important for estimation of the atmospheric behavior of radionuclides and their subsequent behavior in land water, soil, vegetation, and the ocean.