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Associated Press / ibnlive.in.com / Posted on Aug 26, 2011 at 11:44pm IST.
Tokyo: The amount of radioactive cesium that has leaked from a tsunami-hit nuclear plant is about equal to 168 of the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima at the end of World War II, Japan's nuclear agency said on Friday.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency supplied the estimate at a parliamentary panel's request, but it noted a simple comparison between an instantaneous bomb blast and long-term accidental leak is impossible and the results could be "irrelevant."
The report estimated for each of the 16 isotopes released from "Little Boy" and 31 of those detected at the Fukushima plant but didn't provide the total. NISA has said the radiation leaked from Fukushima was about one-sixth of what the Chernobyl disaster released in 1986.
The March 11 earthquake and tsunami caused three reactor cores at Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant to melt. Several blasts and fires also sent massive radiation into the environment.
The report said the damaged plant has released 15,000 tera becquerels of cesium-137, which lingers for decades and could cause cancer, compared with the 89 tera becquerels released by the U.S. uranium bomb.