'Fukushima leaks equal 168 Hiroshimas'
A view of crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant
Japanese nuclear scientists say the amount of radioactive cesium-137 released from the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant into the environment is 168 times that of Hiroshima bomb.
According to a government calculation published in the Tokyo Shimbun newspaper, the levels of cesium-137 leaked from the crisis-stricken plant has been estimated at 15,000 terabecquerels, AFP reported on Thursday.
That compares with the 89 terabecquerels released by "Little Boy" -- the nuclear bomb the United States dropped on Japan's western city of Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 as World War II was in its final stages.
Tokyo government, however, argued that the comparison was not valid since there is no logical comparison between Hiroshima bomb and Fukushima disaster.
"An atomic bomb is designed to enable mass-killing and mass-destruction by causing blast waves and heat rays and releasing neutron radiation," the Tokyo Shimbun daily quoted an unnamed government official as saying.
"It is not rational to make a simple comparison only based on the amount of isotopes released,” the official added.
An estimated 140,000 people died instantly in Hiroshima or succumbed to burns and radiation sickness soon after the attack and another 70,000 were injured.
Sixty-six years after the mass-killing and mass-destruction, the United States still refuses to apologize to Japan.
The Fukushima plant has leaked radiation into air, soil and the Pacific Ocean ever since it was hit by a 9-magnitude earthquake and a devastating tsunami on March 11.
The tremor triggered a nuclear crisis by knocking out power to cooling systems and the reactor meltdowns at the nuclear power plant on Japan's northeast coast.
The number of the dead and missing from Japan's March 11 quake and tsunami stands at over 28,000, according to the Japanese National Police Agency. The crisis has also displaced thousands of residents from around the plant as well.