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Analysis of External Surface Irregularities on Fukushima-Derived Fallout Particles

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
Number of pages9
JournalFrontiers in Energy Research
DateAccepted/In press - 5 Sep 2017
DatePublished (current) - 22 Sep 2017


Three large high radioactivity particulate fragments, each several hundred micron in diameter, have been recovered from the region immediately surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Through the application of high-resolution electron and ion-beam methods, this work has sought to investigate the structure and composition of this fibrous surface morphology. By evaluating this, a potential material source can be determined, alongside important information relating to the conditions / events at the time of the reactor explosions and catastrophic release of radioactive materials.

The results of this study show that the fibrous features associated with these large radiocesium-containing particles share a common elemental composition. With respect to the surrounding particle, the fibres are enriched in Si, Cl and Fe, whilst depleted in both Zn and Al. Based on composition, these fibres are ascribed to thermal insulating material used within the plant, which was sufficiently heated during the Loss of coolant incident (LOCI) at the plant to be incorporated into the molten ejecta material that rapidly solidified upon quenching in air. Elemental analysis of these fibres does not reveal any evidence of leaching or the presence of actinide materials.

    Structured keywords

  • Cabot Institute Low Carbon Energy Research

    Research areas

  • FDNPP, Fukushima, Nuclear, fallout, radiation, Nuclear energy, Nuclear forensics, contamination

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