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Novel Method of Quantifying Radioactive Cesium-Rich Microparticles (CsMPs) in the Environment from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

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Novel Method of Quantifying Radioactive Cesium-Rich Microparticles (CsMPs) in the Environment from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant” has been published in the journal of Environmental Science:
Highly radioactive cesium-rich microparticles (CsMPs) were released from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant (FDNPP) to the surrounding environment at an early stage of the nuclear disaster in March of 2011; however, the quantity of released CsMPs remains undetermined. Here, we report a novel method to quantify the number of CsMPs in surface soils at or around Fukushima and the fraction of radioactivity they contribute, which we call “quantification of CsMPs” (QCP) and is based on autoradiography. Here, photostimulated luminescence (PSL) is linearly correlated to the radioactivity of various microparticles, with a regression coefficient of 0.0523 becquerel/PSL/h (Bq/PSL/h). In soil collected from Nagadoro, Fukushima, Japan, CsMPs were detected in soil sieved with a 114 μm mesh. There was no overlap between the radioactivities of CsMPs and clay particles adsorbing Cs. Based on the distribution of radioactivity of CsMPs, the threshold radioactivity of CsMPs in the size fraction of <114 μm was determined to be 0.06 Bq. Based on this method, the number and radioactivity fraction of CsMPs in four surface soils collected from the vicinity of the FDNPP were determined to be 48–318 particles per gram and 8.53–31.8%, respectively. The QCP method is applicable to soils with a total radioactivity as high as ∼106 Bq/kg. This novel method is critically important and can be used to quantitatively understand the distribution and migration of the highly radioactive CsMPs in near-surface environments surrounding Fukushima.

May 27, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima Nuclear Fuel Release “Explicitly Revealed” In Wider Environment

The Fukushima tragedy, seven years later, is still flooding the Pacific with tons of intensely radioactive water daily. Not to mention this report re disbursed radioactive airborne particles, some lasting billions of years.
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March 5th, 2018
A new study by a team of international researchers has for the first time “explicitly revealed” uranium and other radioactive materials in the surrounding environment of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors following the nuclear accident at the site in 2011.
In a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology last month based on research conducted by an international team of scientists, explicit evidence of uranium and other radioactive materials — such as caesium and technetium — have been found in the surrounding environment of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors after being released from the damaged reactor.
We have to turn our attention all the way back to March of 2011 when the magnitude 9 Tōhoku earthquake unleashed a tsunami on the east coast of Japan which, unfortunately, caused an accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. A cascade of issues resulted in three nuclear meltdowns, hydrogen-air explosions, and the release of radioactive materials from Units 1, 2, and 3.
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Ever since, scientists have been keenly observing the site and its surrounding environment for signs of nuclear radiation, and it was almost a year ago that we received our first direct images of the damaged nuclear fuel rods.
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The new study published last month, however, focuses further afield from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in the search for nuclear materials. While there have been various discoveries in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear meltdown, this is the first time that nuclear reactor fuel debris has been “explicitly revealed” in the surrounding environment, which means that the impact from the fallout might last much longer than had previously been expected.
Among the international team of scientists were experts from The University of Manchester, who explained their research late last month:
“The scientists have been looking at extremely small pieces of debris, known as micro-particles, which were released into the environment during the initial disaster in 2011. The researchers discovered uranium from nuclear fuel embedded in or associated with caesium-rich micro particles that were emitted from the plant’s reactors during the meltdowns. The particles found measure just five micrometres or less; approximately 20 times smaller than the width of a human hair. The size of the particles means humans could inhale them.”
“Our research strongly suggests there is a need for further detailed investigation on Fukushima fuel debris, inside, and potentially outside the nuclear exclusion zone,” further explained Dr Gareth Law, Senior Lecturer in Analytical Radiochemistry at The University of Manchester, and an author on the paper. “Whilst it is extremely difficult to get samples from such an inhospitable environment, further work will enhance our understanding of the long-term behaviour of the fuel debris nano-particles and their impact.”
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Prior to this most recent research, it had been assumed that only volatile, gaseous radionuclides such as caesium and iodine were released from the damaged reactors. However, the new research is clarifying that small, solid particles were also emitted from the fallout and that some of these particles contain long-lived radionuclides.
How long lived is “long lived”? Uranium, for example, has a half-life of billions of years.
That doesn’t bode well.

March 7, 2018 Posted by | Fukushima 2018 | , , | Leave a comment

Assessment of residual doses to population after decontamination in Fukushima Prefecture

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“….Fukushima Prefecture. Our probabilistic model considers the variabilities in behavioral patterns and Cs-137 surface-activity levels.

Five years after the initial contamination, the 95th percentiles of indoor workers and pensioners in 53 of the 59 municipalities were found to receive annual effective doses of below 1 mSv/y (0.026–0.73 mSv/y).

However, for outdoor workers in 25 municipalities, the annual doses were over 1 mSv/y (1.0–35 mSv/y).

Therefore, the guidance value is effective for indoor workers and pensioners; to determine whether additional countermeasures for outdoor workers should be implemented, a detailed assessment that uses more realistic assumptions is required……”

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X16302247

July 18, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , | Leave a comment