bp1In the three months following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which occurred back in March 2011, a land area larger than 20,000 square miles (mi2) became contaminated with high levels of radionuclides of both cesium and iodine, says a new European Commission report. Using the most realistic estimates in a mathematical model, scientists determined that as many as 43 million Japanese people, and perhaps even more, were exposed during that time to high levels of the two contaminants, which are still being spewed from the shuttered plant to this very day. As explained in a Science for Environment Policy News Alert, the study calculated the atmospheric deposition of the two radionuclides using a widely respected circulation model and focused specifically on emissions in gaseous form. The study also took into account factors that might affect radionuclide concentrations upon dispersion, including precipitation, wind patterns, particle sedimentation and radioactive decay. More