Novel Muon imaging technology can help calculate Fukushima damage: Study

   Aug 8, 11:20 am

Washington, Aug. 8 (ANI): A recent study has attributed muon imaging to have the ability to assess damage inside Fukushima nuclear reactors and locate the melted fuel from the core.

A study in the journal AIP Advances by a team of scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) shows that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage done to the reactor cores from the earthquake and tsunami disaster of 2011.

Muon imaging, which utilizes naturally occurring muons created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays to image dense objects, should solve the problem of determining the spatial distribution of the reactor fuel in the short term, the LANL team said.

LANL researcher, Haruo Miyadera, said that the muons are scattered more strongly by high-Z materials, such as uranium fuel in Fukushima's reactor.

He further added that by measuring the scattering angle and understanding the physics of Coulomb multiple scattering, one can assess the locations and amount of the melted fuel in the reactor.

This new technique offers significant advantages over traditional muon imaging.

It measures muon trajectories both before and after the object. By combining the incoming and outgoing trajectories, one can more accurately specify the location of the scattering, yielding a clearer image.

Meanwhile, the access inside the Fukushima reactor pressure vessel has been very limited due to high radiation.

However, the LANL team plans to install detectors in front of the reactor building and on the 2nd floor of the turbine building, so that their muon scattering technique can assess the damage without direct access to the reactor building.

A few months of measurement will reveal the distribution for reactor core fuel and will accelerate the planning and execution of reactor dismantlement, potentially reduce the overall project span by years, reduce overall worker radiation doses, and help Japan and the nuclear power industry in the recovery process from this catastrophic event, Miyadera said. (ANI)

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