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Analysis of ambient-dose-rate trends in Fukushima; Ecological half-life, effect of snow covering

Saegusa, Jun; Yoda, Tomoyuki; Murakami, Mitsuhiro; Takeishi, Minoru

After the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) accident in March 2011, environmental radiation monitoring works have been continuously conducted throughout the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. Five-year transitions of ambient dose rates at 15 locations 20-60 km away from the NPPs were precisely analyzed to investigate their chronological change. Measured dose rates were successfully fitted into a function consisting of a factor reflecting the physical decay of radiocesium and the other component such as the weathering effect. The ecological half-lives derived from the function ranged from 3 to 27 years (average 10 years). The radiation shielding effect by snow covering was also studied with the obtained functions. Due to the effect, dose rates were lowered by 15-50% by 20-cm-deep snow covering, and the ambient doses integrated over the five years were found to decrease by up to 7% compared to those without the snow covering that can be predicted from the fit function.

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