Atmospheric transport and deposition of radionuclides released after the Fukushima Dai-chi accident and resulting effective dose

Giuseppe A. Marzo

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21 Citations (Scopus)


On 11 March 2011 an earthquake off the Pacific coast of the Fukushima prefecture generated a tsunami that hit Fukushima Dai-ichi and Fukushima Da-ini Nuclear Power Plants. From 12 March a significant amount of radioactive material was released into the atmosphere and dispersed worldwide. Among the most abundant radioactive species released were iodine and cesium isotopes. By means of an atmospheric dispersion Lagrangian code and publicly available meteorological data, the atmospheric dispersion of131I,134Cs, and137Cs have been simulated for three months after the event with a spatial resolution of 0.5°×0.5° globally. The simulation has been validated by comparison to publicly available measurements collected in 206 locations worldwide. Sensitivity analysis shows that release height of the radionuclides, wet deposition velocity, and source term are the parameters with the most impact on the simulation results. The simulation shows that the radioactive plume, consisting of about 200PBq by adding contributions from131I,134Cs, and137Cs, has been transported over the entire northern hemisphere depositing up to 1.2MBqm-2nearby the NPPs to less than 20Bqm-2in Europe. The consequent effective dose to the population over a 50-year period, calculated by considering both external and internal pathways of exposure, is found to be about 40mSv in the surroundings of Fukushima Dai-ichi, while other countries in the northern hemisphere experienced doses several orders of magnitude lower suggesting a small impact on the population health elsewhere. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)709 - 722
Number of pages14
JournalAtmospheric Environment
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science
  • Environmental Science(all)

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