0 earthquake and the subsequent tsunami that occurred on 11 March 2011 (Simons et al., 2011), the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP)
underwent a series of serious damages (Burns et al., 2012). After failure of the cooling systems, several hydrogen explosions affected three of the six nuclear reactors of the power plant on March 12, 14 and 15, and affected a fourth reactor which had already been stopped (Achim et al., 2012). Significant quantities of radionuclides were released into the environment between 12 and 31 March (Morino et al., 2013). Radioactive substance quantities released by the FDNPP accident were estimated to reach 11–40% (190–700 PBq) of the PLX-4720 cost total amount of 131I and 14–62% (12–53.1 PBq) of the total 137Cs emitted by Chernobyl accident (Chino et al., 2011, Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan, 2011, IRSN, 2012, Stohl et al., 2012 and Winiarek et al., 2012). Despite the bulk of radionuclides (∼80%) were transported offshore and out over the Pacific Ocean (Buesseler et al., 2011 and Masson et al., 2011), significant wet and dry deposits of those radionuclides SCH772984 mouse occurred predominantly in Fukushima Prefecture on 15–16 March, leading to a strong contamination of soils (Yasunari et al., 2011 and Kinoshita et al., 2011). In particular, 6.4 PBq of 137Cs (∼20% of the total emissions) were modelled to have deposited on Japanese soils (Stohl et al.,
2012) over a distance of 70 km to the northwest of FDNPP (Fig. 1a). Soils characterized by a 137Cs contamination exceeding 100 kBq m−2 cover ca. 3000 km2
(MEXT, 2011). When reaching such http://www.selleck.co.jp/products/Cisplatin.html high levels, radioactive contamination constitutes a real threat for the local populations. Resulting radiations lead to an external exposure threat that depends on the spatial distribution of radionuclides and the time of exposition (Endo et al., 2012 and Garnier-Laplace et al., 2011). This threat, associated with the possibility of transfer of contamination to plants, animals and direct ingestion of contaminated particles, will affect human activities such as agriculture, forest exploitation and fishing for long periods of time, depending on the half-life of the radionuclides (e.g., 2 yrs for 134Cs; 30 yrs for 137Cs). Those latter substances are strongly sorbed by soil particles (and especially by their clay, silt and organic matter fractions) and may therefore be delivered to rivers by runoff and erosion processes triggered on hillslopes (Motha et al., 2002, Tamura, 1964 and Whitehead, 1978). This sediment may then further convey contaminants in rivers, and its transfer can lead to the dispersion of radioactive contamination across larger areas over time (Rogowski and Tamura, 1965 and Simpson et al., 1976). To our knowledge, those transfers following the FDNPP releases have only been investigated at the scale of individual fields (e.g. Koarashi et al., 2012) or in very small catchments of northeastern Japan (Ueda et al., 2013).