Forecasting Radiation Effects on Wildlife in Japan After the Fukushima Nuclear Accident, Based on Limited Information of Post-Accident Early Stage in 2011
Due to the 11 March 2011 Tohoku earthquake, massive radioactive materials were released from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (Fukushima NPP). It is crucial to predict the regional distribution and magnitude of the effects on wildlife by radioactive materials. However, during the post-accident early stage in 2011, limited information on large-scale pollution and prediction maps was open to public. Hence, this paper aimed to provide (1) the pollution map covering areas within 300 km from the Fukushima NPP where the radiation intensity exceeded 0.5 μSv/h, (2) pollution maps which predicted air dose for the next 30 years after the accident, and (3) maps of areas where wildlife might be affected by radioactive isotopes by the Fukushima nuclear accident. First, the relative contributions of 131I, 134Cs, and 137Cs were estimated from time series observation data. Second, a 30-year prediction of the pollution was calculated based on the isotope half-lives. Third, the chronic radiation effects on vertebrates were estimated using the threshold dose rate proposed by Sazykina et al. (2009). We examined the chronic radiation effects on morbidity, reproduction, and longevity. The results indicated that radioactive materials could have affected vertebrate morbidity within a 350 km 2 area in early April 2011; the threshold level was the median result of Sazykina et al. (2009) with bootstrapping. Based on the prediction, a 15.5 km 2 region will remain affected after 30 years. These areas should be monitored to confirm the effects of radioactivity on wildlife.