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Formation of radioactive cesium microparticles originating from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant accident; Characteristics and perspectives

大貫 敏彦*; 佐藤 志彦 ; 宇都宮 聡*

Onuki, Toshihiko*; Satou, Yukihiko; Utsunomiya, Satoshi*

Following the identification of radioactive particulates, particularly Cs microparticles (CsMPs) in aerosol samples collected on 14-15 March 2011 at Tsukuba, ~170 km south of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP), numerous reports on CsMPs have been published. This paper reviews recent progress in the measurement and characterization of CsMPs by advanced analytical techniques, including advanced transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and synchrotron X-ray analysis. These analyses revealed that the CsMPs contained Si, Fe, Zn, Cs, and minor quantities of U together with some fission products. Uranium in the CsMPs was identified as being in the form of uraninite and (U,Zr)O$$_{2}$$. Detailed advanced TEM analysis has clarified some of the processes resulting in alteration of constituents of the nuclear fuels and containment vessel materials during this severe accident. In addition, the Tokyo Electric Power Company in cooperation with the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and the International Research Institute for Nuclear Decommissioning issued a detailed report on the elemental compositions and structures of the fuel debris fragments collected inside and outside of the primary containment vessel. This report highlighted the fact that the fuel debris fragments contained nanoparticles with the U and Zr components having similar structures to that of the CsMPs. This similarity in structures has stimulated further research on the structure and elemental constituents, especially for U and Zr in the CsMPs, and has opened up new avenues for studying the chemical characteristics of the fuel debris.

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