Caesium-rich micro-particles: A window into the meltdown events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant - IN2P3 - Institut national de physique nucléaire et de physique des particules Access content directly
Journal Articles Scientific Reports Year : 2017

Caesium-rich micro-particles: A window into the meltdown events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Genki Furuki
  • Function : Author
Junpei Imoto
  • Function : Author
Asumi Ochiai
  • Function : Author
Shinya Yamasaki
  • Function : Author
Kenji Nanba
  • Function : Author
Toshihiko Ohnuki
  • Function : Author
Bernd Grambow
Rodney Ewing
  • Function : Author
Satoshi Utsunomiya
  • Function : Author

Abstract

The nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) in March 2011 caused partial meltdowns of three reactors. During the meltdowns, a type of condensed particle, a caesium-rich micro-particle (CsMP), formed inside the reactors via unknown processes. Here we report the chemical and physical processes of CsMP formation inside the reactors during the meltdowns based on atomic-resolution electron microscopy of CsMPs discovered near the FDNPP. All of the CsMPs (with sizes of 2.0–3.4 μm) comprise SiO2 glass matrices and ~10-nm-sized Zn–Fe-oxide nanoparticles associated with a wide range of Cs concentrations (1.1–19 wt% Cs as Cs2O). Trace amounts of U are also associated with the Zn–Fe oxides. The nano-texture in the CsMPs records multiple reaction-process steps during meltdown in the severe FDNPP accident: Melted fuel (molten core)-concrete interactions (MCCIs), incorporating various airborne fission product nanoparticles, including CsOH and CsCl, proceeded via SiO2 condensation over aggregates of Zn-Fe oxide nanoparticles originating from the failure of the reactor pressure vessels. Still, CsMPs provide a mechanism by which volatile and low-volatility radionuclides such as U can reach the environment and should be considered in the migration model of Cs and radionuclides in the current environment surrounding the FDNPP.

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Radiochemistry
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in2p3-01700252 , version 1 (27-05-2024)

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Genki Furuki, Junpei Imoto, Asumi Ochiai, Shinya Yamasaki, Kenji Nanba, et al.. Caesium-rich micro-particles: A window into the meltdown events at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Scientific Reports, 2017, 7, pp.42731. ⟨10.1038/srep42731⟩. ⟨in2p3-01700252⟩
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