“Graph” of the Week: Fukushima tritium leak in context

The “massive” tritium leak to sea from Fukushima since 2011 equals the tritium content of about 22 to 44 self-luminescent EXIT signs.

More info about exit signs here: http://www.dep.state.pa.us/brp/radiation_control_division/tritium.htm

About J. M. Korhonen

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10 Responses to “Graph” of the Week: Fukushima tritium leak in context

  1. Forgot to add: feel free to redistribute the graphic as you see fit.

  2. janne says:

    http://www.dep.state.pa.us/brp/radiation_control_division/tritium.htm gives 25 curies as the content of a new sign, which by Google is 92 500 000 000 becquerels = 0,09 Trillions. There should be about 220 signs in the picture.

  3. Others beside me have already noted that for some odd reason, Google’s unit conversion from curies to becquerels seems to be off by a factor of 1000. All the other sources I’ve looked into say that 1 Ci = 37 GBq, which suggests that one EXIT sign may contain 0.925 trillion Bq of radioactivity.

    See e.g.


    Excellent lesson in checking the Internet sources, though, thanks!

  4. That “20 trillion to 40 trillion” seems to be in European trillions (10^18) and that “0.9 trillion each” seems to be in American trillions (10^12).

    (You need to get the numbers of Fukushima water leaks (~400 m3 per day) and water Bq-content (~1000 million Bq per litre) and redo the math.)

    • Thanks for the comment, this is an important issue and would of course modify the math somewhat. However, may I ask what is your source for these numbers? I cannot find confirmation for 1000 million Bq/litre tritium concentrations anywhere. The (hopefully) original Japanese press release accompanying a translation clearly claims the total tritium release between May 2011 to July 2013 is 2 x 10^13 – 4 x 10^13 Bq, i.e. 20-40 terabecquerels – as I originally assumed above. Here you go:


      The site also claims (without specifying the source) that tritium release is now about 10^11 Bq per day. Hopefully decreasing, of course.

      To put these numbers into comparison, annual tritium release worldwide from nuclear reactors is apparently estimated to be about 12 000 terabecquerels (12 x 10^15 Bq), and release from atmospheric nuclear tests between 1945 and 1963 to be some 240 exabecquerels (2.4 x 10^20 Bq). That would seem to be 240 000 000 terabecquerels or 13 300 000 terabecquerels per year on average. Probably more than half of that ended up in the Pacific; what effect it had is uncertain, but I’m not aware of any reported environmental or health effects.

      Click to access summary-of-work-and-recommendations-defence.pdf

      • I took the numbers from Greenpeace. Of course they might be wrong, too, but as they quite conveniently fit to your numbers, under the assumption of European and American trillions mix-up, I just assumed that they might be approximately correct.


      • Okay, now I understand. However, it’s instructive to note what Greenpeace does not care to mention: while their write-up implies that the leaking 300 or 400 cubic meters have those levels of _cesium_ (not tritium, tho in fairness Cs is more dangerous to living beings), other sources are pretty careful to note that such radiation levels are to be found in sumps and wells in the area, not in the leaking water. Whether the wells are leaking to the sea, and how much of the material actually ends up in the sea, is not known as far as I’ve been able to find.

        Greenpeace has a habit of crafting carefully worded press releases that are highly effective in spreading Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt. In this matter, prime examples include opinion pieces in HS (where, by a careful selection of dates and definitions, an impression was made that Germany’s new coal plants have nothing to do with nuclear shutdown, a claim that’s blatantly false) and just about every piece of news from Fukushima.

  5. miumiu 店 says:

    チューダー 中古,tudor

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