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

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 Cs-137 of three reactors has been released into water. We found that the release rate of Cs-137 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, Cs-137 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.
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Submitted on : Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 4:33:47 PM
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Bernd Grambow, M. Mostafavi. State of Fukushima nuclear fuel debris tracked by Cs137 in cooling water. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, Royal Society of Chemistry, 2014, 16 (11), pp.2472-2476. ⟨10.1039/c4em00103f⟩. ⟨hal-01204910⟩



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