Articles | Volume 10, issue 5
Biogeosciences, 10, 3067–3078, 2013

Special issue: Impacts of the Fukushima nuclear power plant discharges on...

Biogeosciences, 10, 3067–3078, 2013

Research article 07 May 2013

Research article | 07 May 2013

Surface pathway of radioactive plume of TEPCO Fukushima NPP1 released 134Cs and 137Cs

M. Aoyama1, M. Uematsu2, D. Tsumune3, and Y. Hamajima4 M. Aoyama et al.
  • 1Meteorological Research Institute, Tsukuba, Japan
  • 2Atomosphere and Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan
  • 3Environmental Science Research Laboratory, Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4Institute of Nature and Environmental Technology, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan

Abstract. 134Cs and 137Cs were released to the North Pacific Ocean by two major likely pathways, direct discharge from the Fukushima NPP1 accident site and atmospheric deposition off Honshu Islands of Japan, east and northeast of the site. High density observations of 134Cs and 137Cs in the surface water were carried out by 17 cruises of cargo ships and several research vessel cruises from March 2011 till March 2012. The main body of radioactive surface plume of which activity exceeded 10 Bq m−3 travelled along 40° N and reached the International Date Line on March 2012, one year after the accident. A distinct feature of the radioactive plume was that it stayed confined along 40° N when the plume reached the International Date Line. A zonal speed of the radioactive plume was estimated to be about 8 cm s−1 which was consistent with zonal speeds derived by Argo floats at the region.

Final-revised paper