In-situ removal and characterisation of uranium-containing particles from sediments surrounding the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

P.G. Martin, Ian Griffiths, Christopher Jones, Milly Stitt, Merrick Davies-Milner, JFW Mosselmans, Yosuke Yamashiki, David Richards, Tom Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
380 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Traditional methods to locate and subsequently study radioactive fallout particles have focused heavily on autoradiography coupled with in-situ analytical techniques. Presented here is the application of a Variable Pressure Scanning Electron Microscope with both backscattered electron and energy dispersive spectroscopy detectors, along with a micromanipulator setup and electron-hardening adhesive to isolate and remove individual particles before synchrotron radiation analysis. This system allows for a greater range of new and existing analytical techniques, at increased detail and speed, to be applied to the material. Using this method, it was possible to erform detailed energy dispersive spectroscopy and synchrotron radiation characterisation of material likely ejected from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant found within a sediment sample collected from the edge of the 30 km exclusion zone. Particulate material sub-micron in maximum dimension examined during this work via energy dispersive spectroscopy was observed to contain uranium at levels between 19.68 and 28.35 weight percent, with the application of synchrotron radiation spectroscopy confirming its presence as a major constituent.

With great effort and cost being devoted to the remediation of significant areas of eastern Japan affected by the incident, it is crucial to gain the greatest possible understanding of the nature of this contamination in order to inform the most appropriate clean-up response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalSpectrochimica Acta Part B: Atomic Spectroscopy
Volume117
Early online date31 Dec 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016

Keywords

  • u-XAS
  • Fukushima Daiichi
  • Uranium
  • Radioactivity
  • Synchrotron

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