Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Getting to the core of Fukushima

Date:
August 7, 2013
Source:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Summary:
Critical to the recovery efforts following the devastating effects of the 2011 tsunami on Japan’s Fukushima reactor is the ability to assess damage within the reactor’s core. A new study shows that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage to the reactor cores and locating the melted fuel.

Critical to the recovery efforts following the devastating effects of the 2011 tsunami on Japan's Fukushima reactor is the ability to assess damage within the reactor's core. A study in the journal AIP Advances by a team of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) shows that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage to the reactor cores and locating the melted fuel.

Muon imaging, which utilizes naturally occurring muons created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays to image dense objects, should solve the problem of determining the spatial distribution of the reactor fuel in the short term, the LANL team said.

"Muons are scattered more strongly by high-Z materials such as uranium fuel in Fukushima's reactor," explained LANL researcher Haruo Miyadera, who is the lead author of the paper. "By measuring the scattering angle, and understanding the physics of Coulomb multiple scattering, one can assess the locations and amount of the melted fuel."

This new technique offers significant advantages over traditional muon imaging. The traditional method is similar to Roentgen radiography in that it measures muon-flux attenuation after an object. Muons, however, are scattered in a manner that causes image blur.

"The new LANL method measures muon trajectories both before and after the object," said Miyadera. "By combining the incoming and outgoing trajectories, one can more accurately specify the location of the scattering, yielding a clearer image."

Why is Imaging Fukushima So Challenging?

Assessing the core damage at Fukushima is a very difficult challenge, said Miyadera. In the case of Three Mile Island, cameras were eventually installed in the reactor pressure vessel to assess the damage. However, in the case of Fukushima Daiichi, access inside the reactor pressure vessel has been very limited due to high radiation. To address this, the team plans to install detectors in front of the reactor building and on the 2nd floor of the turbine building so that their muon scattering technique can assess the damage without direct access to the reactor building.

The LANL team has faced numerous challenges, from operating detectors in the high radiation environment at Fukushima Daiichi to the difficulties in finding funding for a project at an American laboratory to address a problem in Japan. The next step for the crew is a demonstration of their technique using a research reactor in Kawasaki, Japan where they will verify the spatial resolution of their technique and track the effects of obstructions such as concrete walls and steel construction materials on the muon scattering.

"A few months of measurement will reveal the distribution for reactor core fuel and will accelerate the planning and execution of reactor dismantlement, potentially reduce the overall project span by years, reduce overall worker radiation doses, and help Japan and the nuclear power industry in the recovery process from this catastrophic event," Miyadera said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics (AIP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Haruo Miyadera, Konstantin N. Borozdin, Steve J. Greene, Zarija Lukić, Koji Masuda, Edward C. Milner, Christopher L. Morris, John O. Perry. Imaging Fukushima Daiichi reactors with muons. AIP Advances, 2013; 3 (5): 052133 DOI: 10.1063/1.4808210

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Getting to the core of Fukushima." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807115624.htm>.
American Institute of Physics (AIP). (2013, August 7). Getting to the core of Fukushima. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807115624.htm
American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Getting to the core of Fukushima." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807115624.htm (accessed August 2, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins