Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
Review
, 470-471, 800-17

Comparison of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Nuclear Accidents: A Review of the Environmental Impacts

Affiliations
Review

Comparison of the Chernobyl and Fukushima Nuclear Accidents: A Review of the Environmental Impacts

Georg Steinhauser et al. Sci Total Environ.

Erratum in

  • Sci Total Environ. 2014 Jul 15;487:575

Abstract

The environmental impacts of the nuclear accidents of Chernobyl and Fukushima are compared. In almost every respect, the consequences of the Chernobyl accident clearly exceeded those of the Fukushima accident. In both accidents, most of the radioactivity released was due to volatile radionuclides (noble gases, iodine, cesium, tellurium). However, the amount of refractory elements (including actinides) emitted in the course of the Chernobyl accident was approximately four orders of magnitude higher than during the Fukushima accident. For Chernobyl, a total release of 5,300 PBq (excluding noble gases) has been established as the most cited source term. For Fukushima, we estimated a total source term of 520 (340-800) PBq. In the course of the Fukushima accident, the majority of the radionuclides (more than 80%) was transported offshore and deposited in the Pacific Ocean. Monitoring campaigns after both accidents reveal that the environmental impact of the Chernobyl accident was much greater than of the Fukushima accident. Both the highly contaminated areas and the evacuated areas are smaller around Fukushima and the projected health effects in Japan are significantly lower than after the Chernobyl accident. This is mainly due to the fact that food safety campaigns and evacuations worked quickly and efficiently after the Fukushima accident. In contrast to Chernobyl, no fatalities due to acute radiation effects occurred in Fukushima.

Keywords: Chernobyl; Fukushima; Radioactivity; Radioecology; Radionuclide contamination; Socioeconomic effects of radiation.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 59 articles

See all "Cited by" articles

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources

Feedback