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Inner structure and inclusions in radiocesium-bearing microparticles emitted in the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident

Okumura, Taiga*; Yamaguchi, Noriko*; Dohi, Terumi  ; Iijima, Kazuki ; Kogure, Toshihiro*

Radiocesium-bearing microparticles (CsMPs), consisting substantially of silicate glass, were released to the environment during the Fukushima nuclear accident in March 2011. We investigated a total of nine CsMPs using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and inferred the atmosphere in the reactors during the accident. From elemental mapping using energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometry, Fe and Zn showing radial inhomogeneities were found in the CsMPs, in addition to the Cs that had been previously reported. Four of the CsMPs included submicron crystals, which were identified as chromite, franklinite, acanthite, molybdenite, and hessite. The chromium-containing spinels, chromite and franklinite, indicated the presence of ferrous iron (Fe$$^{2+}$$), suggesting that the inside of the reactors was reductive to some extent. Electron energy-loss spectroscopy also confirmed that the CsMPs did not contain boron, and therefore the atmosphere in which they were formed might be boron-free.

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Category:Microscopy

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