Estimation of the radioactive source dispersion from Fukushima nuclear power plant accident

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    Information about the time-line of events can be found on the

    adionuclides. Theitoring stations

    radioactive nobleal., 2009). Radio-ar facilities, suchcreate a globale (Wotawa et al.,ushima accidentding 133Xe raisedtohl et al., 2011).

    Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

    journal homepage: www.else

    Applied Radiatio

    Applied Radiation and Isotopes 81 (2013) 358361the affected IMS stations, Atmospheric Transport Modelling (ATM)E-mail address: (W. Plastino).The time-dependent relationship between a source that isemitting particles and a receptor in a remote location can bedescribed with a source-receptor sensitivity (SRS) matrix.To determine the sensitivity between the Fukushima NPP and

    0969-8043/$ - see front matter & 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    n Corresponding author at: University of Roma Tre, Department of Mathematics andPhysics, Via della Vasca Navale 84, I-00146 Roma, Italy. Tel.: +39 06 5733 7277;fax: +39 06 5733 of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, 2011). 2. MethodsThe Tohuku earthquake on 11 March 2011 and the followingtsunami at the north-eastern coast of Japan resulted in theworldwide known nuclear accident at the Fukushima NuclearPower Plant (NPP). The state of several reactors worsened duringthe following days and large amounts of radioactive material werereleased into the environment, i.e. land, sea and atmosphere. Theassessment of the regional and global impact depends on theknowledge of which radionuclides had been emitted in whatquantities. Also the time development is of importance as itdetermines with which prevailing winds or sea currents the radio-active material is dispersed. Due to the severe conditions on-site ithas not been possible to determine the source term directly.

    tion (CTBTO), continuously takes environmentaincluding atmospheric concentrations of certain rIMS design incorporates 80 radionuclide monworldwide, of which 40 stations can also detectgases such as radioxenon isotopes (Zhringer etxenon is mainly emitted by NPPs and other nucleas medical isotope production facilities, whichradioxenon background with regional dependenc2010). In the days and weeks following the Fukthe concentrations of several radionuclides incluat multiple IMS stations throughout the world (S1. Introduction The International Monitoring System (IMS), which is currentlybuilt up by the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organiza-

    l measurements& 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.Keywords:FukushimaAtmospheric transport modelingXenonSource term

    locations. Using results of these remote measurements the Fukushima Xe source term has beenreconstructed and compared with previously reconstructed 137Cs and 131I source terms. The reconstructionis accomplished by applying atmospheric transport modeling and an adapted least square error method. Theobtained results are in agreement with previous estimations of the Fukushima radionuclide source, and alsoserve as a proof of principle for source term reconstruction based on atmospheric transport modeling.Available online 2 April 2013 Following the Fukushima n The emissions are reconstructed acco Correlation of the estimated source te

    a r t i c l e i n f oharacterize the Fukushima source term.133-Xe detections in Japan and China.137-Cs and 131-I detections.

    a b s t r a c t

    uclear power plant accident detections of 133Xe have been made in various133 Atmospheric transport modelling is used to cEstimation of the radioactive source disnuclear power plant accident

    Michael Schppner a,b, Wolfango Plastino a,b,n, PaveFederico Ruggieri b, Francesco Bella a

    a University of Roma Tre, Department of Mathematics and Physics, Via della Vasca Navb INFN, Section of Roma Tre, Via della Vasca Navale 84, I-00146 Roma, Italyc Comenius University, Department of Nuclear Physics and Biophysics, Mlynska dolina Fd Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban-Treaty OrganizationCentre, PO Box 1200, 1400 Vienna, Austriarsion from Fukushima

    ovinec c, Mika Nikkinen d,

    4, I-00146 Roma, Italy

    84248 Bratislava, SlovakiaBTO), Provisional Technical Secretariat, Vienna

    n and Isotopes

  • e ga

    M. Schppner et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 81 (2013) 358361 359has been utilized. The general purpose of ATM is to calculate thesensitivity, which determines the relation between two points ona spatial grid. The concentration c at the receptor is calculatedfrom the source emission strength S at coordinates i, j during thetime interval n, and the accordant source-receptor sensitivity M:

    cMijnSijnwhen sources from more than one location or more than one timeinterval are contributing to the concentration, summing over allsources and time intervals gives the total concentration (Wotawaet al., 2003). The Lagrangian Particle Dispersion Model FLEXPARTuses the zero-acceleration scheme

    Xt t Xt vX; ttto integrate the trajectory equation. Various radionuclide-lossprocesses such as radioactive decay and dry and wet depositionhave been included in the simulations. However, radioxenon andnoble gases in general, which will be mainly discussed in thispaper, are not affected by deposition effects (Stohl et al., 2010).Due to its many parameters ATM is always subject to uncertaintiesthat are not trivial to quantify directly. However, the appliedFLEXPART model has been validated against several meso-scaletracer experiments in order to ensure its capability (Stohl et al.,1998) and was found to produce good correlation with noparticular bias. Effects of local meteorological patterns that are

    Fig. 1. Map of East Asia with Fukushima and the two noblnot resolved by ATM can be analysed with a statistical time seriesanalysis (Plastino et al., 2010).

    The Flexpart model has been ported to the local grid computerat the University of Roma Tre/INFN. It is running with atmosphericdata from the European Centre for Medium-Weather Forecast(ECMWF) in a spatial resolution of one degree latitude/longitudeand time resolution of 3 h.

    The inuence of the worldwide 133Xe background on a certaindetector can be simulated with a radioxenon emission inventorythat describes average emissions from legitimate radioxenonsources (Kalinowski and Tuma, 2009). Emissions from a certaingrid point and time can reach the same detector multiple timesdue to various particle trajectories following the wind dispersion.The concentration during one detection period of the receptor canalso be composed from emissions from multiple emissions in timeand space. However, when assuming one single emitter with aknown location (as it is shown later), information about the sourceterm can be deducted from the remote measurements.

    The virtual Data Exploitation Centre (vDEC), established by theCTBTO, supplies IMS data for research purposes including radioxenonconcentrations detected following the Fukushima accident. Whenchoosing detection data to reconstruct the source term, spatialvicinity and temporal availability of data are important. Here, datafrom the Japanese station JPX38 in Takasaki close to Tokyo and about250 km from Fukushima, and from the Chinese station CNX22 nearHong Kong about 3000 km from Fukushima have been considered,see Fig. 1. For the Japanese station elevated radioxenon data are onlyavailable for the time period from 05 April 2011; for the Chinesestation radioxenon data are available after 25 March 2011.

    When a constant source term is assumed it results in aparticular time series of concentrations at the receptor. Whencompared to the experimental detection data the simulated timeseries most likely possesses different features and the sum oferrors can be calculated. Due to the usual distribution over morethan one order of magnitude it is useful to calculate the sum ofsquare errors on a logarithmic scale. When changing the timedependence of the source term, the simulated time series at thedetector changes according to the source-receptor sensitivitymatrix, and with these changes also the sum of square errorschanges. The source term can be adjusted in a way to minimize thesummed log-scale square errors between simulated and experi-mental data, maximizing the alikeness between both of them.

    The experimental 133Xe data has been taken in collectionintervals of twelve hours with Swedish Automatic Unit for Noblegas Acquisition (SAUNA) systems. Therefore, when reconstructingthe Fukushima source term, a time resolution of 12 h has also been

    s monitoring stations JPX38 and CNX22. ( SAUNA systems detect noble gases with betagamma coin-cidence measurements (Auer et al., 2010). The Minimum Detect-able Concentration is in the range 0.20.4 mBq/m3. The averageerror for the used data set of radioxenon detections is 10%.

    3. Results and discussion

    Prior to the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Japanese CTBTOstation detected 133Xe emitted from multiple NPPs in the order of0.11 mBq/m3. However, during the days following the accidentno data were available. Data taking restarted on 4 April 2012,showing 133Xe concentrations of the order of 0.11 Bq/m3 (Fig. 2).The legitimate background that is produced by operating NPPs andmedical isotope production facilities can be reproduced by ATMand the standard radioxenon emission inventory (Kalinowski andTuma, 2009). When compared to the pre-Fukushima detections, aspresented in Fig. 2, the simulations depict the background data.

    For the Chinese station the data are only available from 25March, where a similar pattern is observed, when the level of

  • grou. No

    M. Schppner et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 81 (2013) 358361360Fig. 2. Detections of 133Xe at the Japanese station JPX38 compared to simulated backrst day of the Fukushima accident; the sloped line represents the half-life of 133Xeconcentration has increased on 26 March 2011 from the backgroundlevels of about 0.1 mBq/m3 to elevated levels of 0.11 Bq/m3, (Fig. 3).

    In both cases the 133Xe levels raised by two to three orders ofmagnitude following the Fukushima nuclear accident. From this changeit is concluded that Fukushima NPP can be handled as the onlysignicant source of 133Xe. It is also possible that the detectors of thetwo stations have been contaminated due to high radioactive concen-trations and that a memory effect could be responsible for part of thetime series. In both stations a particular decline in the 133Xe concen-tration has been similar to its decay rate. The analysis of this particulardecline is out of scope of this work, but it has to be remembered that amemory effect would lead to an overestimation of the source term.

    Due to the time offset between the Fukushima accident and theavailable detection data, as well as the possibility of detectorscontamination, only the rst days of data collection have beenused to reconstruct the Fukushima source term. Especially thedowntime and the late re-start of the radioxenon detector at theJapanese station allow only the source term reconstruction fromJapanese data for 22 March and later. Anyway, from the Chinesenoble gas detector it was possible to deduct information about thesource term from 13 March and later. Gaps in the reconstructedsource term are due to unfavourable meteorological conditions, i.e.when according to the simulation the prevailing winds did notallow to establish a sensitivity between source and receptor.

    The time-dependent source terms of 131I and 137Cs followingthe Fukushima accident have been established previously with asimilar method (Schoeppner et al., 2011). Thus, it is possible tocompare how the Fukushima source term is seen by differentstations and isotopes. From the previous results the 137Cs and 131I

    Fig. 3. Detections of 133Xe at the Chinese station CNX22 compared to simulated backgrrst day of the Fukushima accident; the sloped line represents the half-life of 133Xe. Thnd assuming no emissions from the Fukushima NPP. The vertical line represents thedata were taken between 15 March and 3 April.source terms have been overestimated, and therefore down-scaled to t more recent estimations of 3.527 PBq for 137Cs and152160 PBq for 131I (Hirose et al., 2012).

    Fig. 4 shows the source term as seen according to four differentvariants of radionuclides and stations, and the applied method ofminimization. Two distinguished periods can be identied in thereconstructed time series. One is from 12 March to 22 March. Thesecond period is from 28 March to 9 April. The rst period shows acorrelation of the 133Xe source term as seen from the Chinesestation with the 137Cs, and the 131I source term as seen from theJapanese station.

    For the second period only 133Xe data is available. The bothvariants of the source terms are showing the same orders ofmagnitude values, and they share a characteristic decline from1 April to 3 April 2011. After the decline, the concentrations ofboth variants show an antilinear dependence, and go apart for4 and 5 April.

    The differences in the correlation between the two periods canhave various reasons. First, during the rst period the Fukushimasource was certainly more active than during the second period,and therefore the rst period should bear sharper characteristicsthat are easier to identify. The previously mentioned possiblecontamination of the detectors may also be responsible for adecreased precision of later detections from which the secondperiod has been reconstructed.

    The deducted source terms can be compared with the time-lineof events at the site of the Fukushima NPP. Since the on-sitesituation at the Fukushima NPP has prevented a direct assessmentof radioactive emissions, only external observations have been

    ound assuming no emissions from Fukushima NPP. The vertical line represents thee data were only available from 25 March 2011.

  • 4. Conclusions

    Hirose, K., Aoyama, M., Povinec, P.P., 2012. Radiostrontium in the western NorthPacic: characteristics, behavior and the Fukushima impact. Environ. Sci.


    M. Schppner et al. / Applied Radiation and Isotopes 81 (2013) 358361 361The Fukushima 133Xe emissions have affected detectors inmedium distances of several hundred to three thousand kilo-metres, and have raised the accordant concentration levels byabout three orders of magnitude. The two stations CNX22 in HongKong and JPX38 near Tokyo have taken data, with which it hasbeen possible to gather further information about the Fukushimaemissions. The time series of detections has a similar slope to thedecay of 133Xe, so that a memory effect in the detector cannot beexcluded. This would lead to an overestimation of the source term.taken into account. Multiple explosions were reported on 12, 14and 15 March (IAEA, 2011). Large emissions of smoke wereobserved on 18 March, with lower amounts on the following days.The results from the combined simulations t into this picture. Peakson 13 and 15 March coincide with the reported explosions. Also thepeak on 18 and 19 March goes along with the smoke observationsand the decrease of smoke in the following days. The magnitude ofthe two presented 133Xe source terms (Fig. 4) is comparable withestimated releases of 13.420.0 EBq in Stohl et al. (2011).

    Fig. 4. The Fukushima source term as reconstructed fromThe presented method allowed gathering detailed informationabout the Fukushima 133Xe source term in a time resolution equalto the detector's sampling time. When reconstructing the Fukush-ima 133Xe source term and including previously established 137Csand 131I source terms, it is seen that they correlate with externalobservations of the events such as the appearance of radionuclidepeaks with reported explosions and smoke. In terms of magnitudethe estimated source terms for 133Xe are in good agreement withother published data (Stohl et al., 2011). In terms of time dependencea reasonable agreement with previously established source terms of137Cs and 131I is found. Furthermore, the results suggest that this is avalid method for remotely determining source terms.


    The authors highly acknowledge the support by the NationalScientic Committee Technology of INFN for the ERMES project,and the European Commission under the FP7 programme for theEUMEDGRID project (Grant RI-246589). The authors are alsograteful to the Grid Lab of INFN and the Department ofTechnol., submitted.IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), 2011. Fukushima Nuclear Accident

    Update., M.B., Tuma, M.P., 2009. Global radioxenon emission inventory based on

    nuclear power reactor reports. J. Environ. Radioact. 100, 5870.Plastino, W., Plenteda, R., Azzari, G., Becker, A., Saey, P.R.J., Wotawa, G., 2010.

    Radioxenon time series and meteorological pattern analysis for CTBT eventcategorisation. Pure Appl. Geophys. 167, 559573.

    Schoeppner, M., Plastino, W., Povinec, P., Wotawa, G., Bella, F., Budano, A.,Mathematics and Physics of University of Roma Tre, and speci-cally to Federico Bitelli and Antonio Budano. The atmospherictransport modelling has been accomplished with meteorologicaldata provided by the European Centre for Medium-Range WeatherForecasts under a collaboration agreement with the University ofRoma Tre.


    Auer, M., Kumberg, T., Sartorius, H., Wernsperger, B., Schlosser, C., 2010. Ten years ofdevelopment of equipment for measurement of atmospheric radioactive xenonfor the verication of the CTBT. Pure Appl. Geophys. 167, 471486.

    CTBTO radionuclide stations and registered radionuclides.De Vincenzi, M., Ruggieri, F., 2011. Estimation of the time-dependent radio-active source-term from the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident usingatmospheric transport modeling. J. Environ. Radioact. ,

    Stohl, A., Hittenberger, M., Wotawa, G., 1998. Validation of the Lagrangian particledispersion model Flexpart against large-scale tracer experiment data. Atmos.Environ. vol. 32 (24), 42454264 1998.

    Stohl, A., Sodemann, H., Eckhardt, S., Frank, A., Seibert, P., Wotawa, G., 2010. TheLagrangian Particle Dispersion Model FLEXPART, Version 8.2. NorwegianInstitute of Air Research, Kjeller, Norway,

    Stohl, A., Seibert, P., Wotawa, G., Arnold, D., Burkhart, J.F., Eckhardt, S., Tapia, C.,Vargas, A., Yasunari, T.J., 2011. Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into theatmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determinationof the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition. Atmos. Chem. Phys.Discuss. 11, 2831928394.

    Wotawa, G., De Geer, L.E., Denier, P., Kalinowski, M., Toivonen, H., D'Amours, R.,Desiato, F., Issartel, J.P., Langer, M., Seibert, P., Frank, A., Sloan, C., Yamazawa, Y.,2003. Atmospheric transport modelling in support of CTBT vericationover-view and basic concepts. Atmos. Environ. 37, 25292537.

    Wotawa, G., Becker, A., Kalinowski, M., Saey, P., Tuma, M., Zaehringer, M., 2010.Computation and analysis of the global distribution of the radioxenon isotope133Xe based on emissions from nuclear power plants and radioisotopeproduction facilities and its relevance for the verication of the Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Pure Appl. Geophys. 167, 541557.

    Zhringer, M., Becker, A., Nikkinen, M., Saey, P., Wotawa, G., 2009. CTBT radioxenonmonitoring for verication: today's challenges. J. Radioanal. Nucl. Chem. 282,737742.

    Estimation of the radioactive source dispersion from Fukushima nuclear power plant accidentIntroductionMethodsResults and discussionConclusionsAcknowledgmentsReferences


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