2 blurbs from Democracy Now about the Japan situation..
Japan on “High Alert” as Plutonium Found in Soil, Radiation Worse than Three Mile Island
Japanese authorities have reported a number of new setbacks at the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station. Plutonium has been found in the soil near the plant, providing new evidence that the fuel rods in at least one of the plant’s reactors had experienced a partial meltdown. Meanwhile, workers are scrambling to stop a new leak of highly contaminated water from reaching the ocean near the nuclear plant.
Researchers: Japan Radiation Leak 160,000 Times Larger than Three Mile Island
The Institute for Energy and Environmental Research has released data showing the radiation leak in Japan is far worse than the one at Three Mile Island in 1979. Researchers estimate the Japanese plant has released 160,000 times as much radioactive iodine-131 as the Three Mile Island accident. The researchers said the radiation leak in Chernobyl was 10 times larger than the leak so far in Japan.
Radioactive iodine is not the main concern though in terms of long term consequences as it has a half life of 8 days. The real danger is radioactive substances such as plutonium and cesium which have much longer half-lives.