Using an hourly-resolution time series of the Fukushima radionuclides collected on used filter-tapes installed in suspended particulate matter (SPM) monitors, we measured the hourly radiocesium values at the SPM monitoring sites of Futaba and Naraha located within 20 km of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FD1NPP) during March 12–25, 2011. The time-series of the 137Cs concentrations at the sites were analyzed and compared with radiation dose rates at the many monitoring posts/points of Fukushima Prefecture and the Tokyo Electric Power Company. At Futaba, nine plumes of high 137Cs concentrations were found on March 12–13, 15–16, 18–20, and 24–25, 2011, when southeasterly winds prevailed. On March 12, the first peak of the 137Cs concentrations was detected at Futaba at 9:00 Japanese Standard Time (JST) due to the first release from reactor Unit 1 (U1) in the early morning. Furthermore, the highest 137Cs concentration, i.e., 13,600 Bq m–3 was observed at 15:00 JST after a vent operation at U1, just before the hydrogen explosion of U1 at 15:36 JST. On the afternoon of March 15, plumes from the FD1NPP were observed at Futaba due to a constant southeasterly wind and were then transported to downwind, resulting in the formation of a highly deposited zone of radionuclides spanning more than 30 km from near the FD1NPP to the northwest. In contrast, seven plumes of high 137Cs concentrations were found at Naraha on March 15–16, 18, 20–21, 2011, when northerly winds prevailed. On March 15, a plume caused by the first release from Unit 2 was observed at Naraha at 1:00 JST, and the highest concentration, i.e., 8,300 Bq m–3, was observed at 3:00 JST, and then were transported southward to the Kantou area. The activity ratios of 134Cs/137Cs in the plumes were divided into two groups. The plumes at Futaba on March 12–13, which had ratios of 0.92–0.94, are identified to be released from U1, compared to its ratio of 0.94, as derived from the inventory data. All other plumes with the ratios of 1.02–1.04 at Futaba and Naraha during March 15–21 have not been determined to be released from U2 and/or Unit 3.
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