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Loss of radioactivity in radiocesium-bearing microparticles emitted from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant by heating.

Scientific reports (2018-06-28)
Taiga Okumura, Noriko Yamaguchi, Terumi Dohi, Kazuki Iijima, Toshihiro Kogure
ABSTRACT

Radiocesium-bearing microparticles (CsPs) substantially made of silicate glass are a novel form of radiocesium emitted from the broken containment vessel of Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant. CsPs have a potential risk of internal radiation exposure caused by inhalation. Radiation-contaminated waste including CsPs is being burned in incinerators; therefore, this study has investigated the responses of CsPs to heating in air. The radioactivity of CsPs gradually decreased from 600 °C and was almost lost when the temperature reached 1000 °C. The size and spherical morphology of CsPs were almost unchanged after heating, but cesium including radiocesium, potassium and chlorine were lost, probably diffused away from the CsPs. Iron, zinc and tin originally dissolved in the glass matrix were crystallized to oxide nanoparticles inside the CsPs. When the CsPs were heated together with weathered granitic soil that is common in Fukushima, the radiocesium released from CsPs was sorbed by the surrounding soil. From these results, it is expected that the radioactivity of CsPs will be lost when radiation-contaminated waste including CsPs is burned in incinerators.

MATERIALS
Product Number
Brand
Product Description

Sigma-Aldrich
L-Serine, ReagentPlus®, ≥99% (HPLC)