Researchers observed “an unprecedented spike” in radioactive sulfur in California from Fukushima fall out

Friday, August 19, 2011
By Paul Martin

15 days after operators began pumping seawater into the damaged reactors and pools holding spent fuel, Thiemens’ group observed an unprecedented spike in the amount of radioactive sulfur in the air.

Susan Brown
UCSD

Atmospheric chemists at the University of California, San Diego, report the first quantitative measurement of the amount of radiation leaked from the damaged nuclear reactor in Fukushima, Japan, following the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year.

Their estimate, reported August 15 in the early, online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is based on a signal sent across the Pacific Ocean when operators of the damaged reactor had to resort to cooling overheated fuel with seawater.

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