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Issue 11, 2014
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State of Fukushima nuclear fuel debris tracked by Cs137 in cooling water

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Abstract

It is still difficult to assess the risk originating from the radioactivity inventory remaining in the damaged Fukushima nuclear reactors. Here we show that cooling water analyses provide a means to assess source terms for potential future releases. Until now already about 34% of the inventories of 137Cs of three reactors has been released into water. We found that the release rate of 137Cs has been constant for 2 years at about 1.8% of the inventory per year indicating ongoing dissolution of the fuel debris. Compared to laboratory studies on spent nuclear fuel behavior in water, 137Cs release rates are on the higher end, caused by the strong radiation field and oxidant production by water radiolysis and by impacts of accessible grain boundaries. It is concluded that radionuclide analyses in cooling water allow tracking of the conditions of the damaged fuel and the associated risks.

Graphical abstract: State of Fukushima nuclear fuel debris tracked by Cs137 in cooling water

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Publication details

The article was received on 18 Feb 2014, accepted on 23 Aug 2014 and first published on 26 Aug 2014


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C4EM00103F
Author version available: Download Author version (PDF)
Citation: Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014,16, 2472-2476
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    State of Fukushima nuclear fuel debris tracked by Cs137 in cooling water

    B. Grambow and M. Mostafavi, Environ. Sci.: Processes Impacts, 2014, 16, 2472
    DOI: 10.1039/C4EM00103F

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