Cesium release equal to 168 Hiroshima A-bombs

The amount of radioactive cesium ejected by the Fukushima reactor meltdowns is about 168 times higher than that emitted in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, the government’s nuclear watchdog said Friday.

The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency provided the estimate at the request of a Diet panel but noted that making a simple comparison between an instantaneous bomb blast and a long-term accidental leak is problematic and could lead to "irrelevant" results.

The report said the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant has released 15,000 terabecquerels of cesium-137, which lingers for decades and can cause cancer, compared with the 89 terabecquerels released by the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

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