The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant meltdown and ensuing leakage of radioactive materials was a disaster on the scale of Three Mile Island and Chernobyl. The smaller particles are also preferentially retained by vegetation,24 from which they are lost with a half-retention time of about 10 days. The most immediately felt health risk is the mental stress that comes from any disaster. Following the Fukushima nuclear accident, a large volume of monitoring data has been collected about the soil, air, dust, and seawater, along with data about an immense number of foods supplied to the market. The use of an EPW instead of a surface-burst weapon generally will result in fewer casualties, because the yield of the EPW can be 15 to 25 times smaller than the yield of a surface-burst weapon for a given level of damage against a hard and deeply buried target (HDBT). For Target B, the fatality ratio varies from 4 to 40, with a mean of 16; for comparison, the mean casualty ratio given in Figure 6.8 (from DTRA’s HPAC code) is 18. In the case of Target A, for example, the 50 percent confidence interval for deaths due to acute effects of fallout (based solely on variability in wind direction) is 130,000 to 600,000; that is, there is a 75 percent chance of exceeding 130,000 deaths from acute effects of fallout, and a 25 percent chance of more than 600,000 deaths. Facilities can be defeated or destroyed without destroying the agent inside. In the event of an accident, the radioactive waste could possibly leak. The manner in which the agent is stored (e.g., the types of containers, location in multiple storage. The potential for fire damage depends on the nature of the burst and the surroundings. SOURCE: Estimates prepared for the committee by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency. The disagreement lies in what form that clean energy should be in. “A Cohort Study of Thyroid Disease in Relation to Fallout from Nuclear Weapons Testing,” JAMA, Vol. The number of latent cancer deaths that might result from a dispersal of radioactive material would depend sensitively on the type and amount of material dispersed (as well as the density of nearby civilian populations and whether these populations were evacuated from the area after the. 1977. Other radionuclides of concern in terms of contaminated foods are 89Sr, 90Sr, and 137Cs. Anspaugh, S.L. There are several issues with burying the radioactive waste. But after the initial radiation leaks subside, research has shown that wildlife communities can recover to levels sometimes higher than they were before the catastrophes. If a nuclear device performs correctly, plutonium has not been found to be a significant source of radiation dose. The impact of the disaster on the surrounding forest and wildlife also remains an area of active research. It is doubtful that a similar situation would occur following a nuclear explosion, as the amounts of long-lived radionuclides created. Contamination was sufficiently high in areas of several countries far from the accident (e.g., Sweden, Norway, and the United Kingdom) that restrictions on food use were implemented by national authorities.35 The occurrence of such areas is difficult to predict and, depending on a country’s resources, may go undetected. Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. For the 21 kiloton device detonated over Nagasaki, it is estimated that 38,000 persons died and 21,000 persons were injured out of a total population of 170,000.14 These estimates are in rough agreement with the estimated 200,000 prompt-effects casualties shown in Figure 6.7 for Target A, taking into account differences in the size of the vulnerable populations. Cooling systems are used to keep nuclear power plants from overheating. At the request of the committee, DTRA estimated the average number of fatalities that would result from various releases of sarin (a nerve agent) and anthrax at three locations in the Washington, D.C., area: the city center and 10 and 50 kilometers northwest of the city center. FIGURE 6.1 Illustrative example: The area over which an individual in the open would face a 10, 50, and 90 percent chance of death or serious injury from the prompt effects of a 10 kiloton earth-penetrator weapon (EPW; left) and a 250 kiloton surface burst (right) detonated at 7:00 p.m. on July 14, 2004, in Washington, D.C. The answers to the first two questions depend critically on detailed information about the facility, including its location, construction, and layout; the type and number of agent containers and their placement within the facility; and the amount and type of agent and the form in which it is stored. Earthquakes, floods and landslides, etc. FIGURE 6.7 Estimated mean number of casualties from prompt effects and acute radiation sickness and death from fallout resulting from attacks on notional targets A, B, and C using earth-penetrator weapons (EPWs) at 3 meters’ depth of burst, assuming the entire population is in the open. Rallison, R.D. 1997. SOURCE: Estimates prepared for the committee by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. These simulations were conducted to study the impact of geographic location and seasonality on health effects of a nuclear accident in comparison with Fukushima. FIGURE 6.9(a) Variation in the estimated number of fatalities due to acute and latent effects from external gamma radiation from fallout from a 300 kiloton earth-penetrator weapon at 3 meters’ depth of burst on notional target A as a function of wind direction, assuming that the population is in the open. Radioactive waste is a huge concern. Natural disasters, from tsunamis to wildfires, can cause wide-ranging and long-term consequences for ecosystems: releasing pollution and waste, or simply demolishing habitats. (The Hiroshima and Nagasaki weapons were detonated at a fallout-free height of about 500 meters and therefore produced no local fallout.). Many districts of Fukushima lost power, leading to a failure of the cooling system in TEPCO's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, leading … Another issue is uncertainty about whether the casks will leak after the waste is buried. 1997. Shortly after a magnitude 9.0 M earthquake occurred off the East coast of Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011, the Pacific coastline of Japan's Northern islands was struck with a massive tsunami. had to be evacuated. Though multiple experiments using biological and chemical agent surrogates have been conducted, they provide an imperfect database. And many possible weapons will be “partially safe”—i.e., their one-point yield will be much less than their design yield. 1949. Denial of the use of water would be expected to be of even less concern, except under very unusual circumstances, because of the very rapid dilution of fallout deposited on surface waters. 1982. This larger dose is due to the entrance during cloud passage of large particles into the upper respiratory tract, from which the particles are coughed up and swallowed. Unlike conventional explosions, a single nuclear explosion can generate an intense pulse of thermal radiation that can start fires and burn skin over large areas. 2002. [vi] Fifteen months after 733,000 curies of radioactive cesium were pumped into the Pacific, 56 percent of all fish catches off Japan were found to be contaminated with it. 31 (1-3), Pergamon Press, Oxford. However, nuclear wastes are difficult to manage and accidents -- and the threat of terrorism -- are serious concerns. Nuclear energy does not release greenhouse gasses so does not contribute to global climate change. are natural environmental hazards of disastrous consequences. In that case an upper limit for the effects is similar to the limits estimated in Figure 6.7. 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