You know what happens when 168 Hiroshima bombs' worth of radioactive crap is released in one spot? It's going to leave a mark. The Japanese gov's released a map that shows 34 locales surrounding Fukushima are worse than Chernobyl's threshold.
The measurements, made available by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, found levels of deadly (and long-lasting) cesium-137 in excess of 1.48 million becquerels per square meter, rendering these places completely uninhabitable. Like the last time we encountered an esoteric unit of measurement, you can ignore it—what matters is that 1.48 was the threshold for Chernobyl. Any higher, and the government said humans couldn't live there. It's higher around Fukushima. Mainichi reports that the study also found six
prefectures municipalities (Okuma, Minamisoma, Tomioka, Futaba, Namie, and Iitate) with cesium-137 levels equal to Chernobyl's toxic land.
Just like Chernobyl, these are places where people have made and live(d) their lives. The government will attempt decontamination work, but the road from uninhabitable to completely safe is a very long one. Let's not forget that Chernobyl is still deserted. [Mainichi via Sean Bonner]
Update: To avoid any confusion: the above study doesn't say the Fukushima disaster is of a greater scale than Chernobyl. Rather, radioactive contamination is worse than that which was sufficient to deem Chernobyl uninhabitable.
Photo: Getty/Athit Perawongmetha