10,000,000 sieverts ok for new device developed for use at Fukushima Daiichi

Published: August 8th, 2012 at 10:55 am ET
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26 comments


Title: Development of radiation-hardened equipment urgently required for Fukushima I decommissioning
Source: The Denki Shimbun (The Electric Daily News)
Date: Aug. 07, 2012

After the passage of more than one year from the accident at the Fukushima I nuclear power station, a challenge now is to develop radiation-resistant equipment for removal of fuel debris (damaged fuel) from the stricken units.

[…]

A research team of Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) developed a semiconductor device using silicon carbide (SiC), a material receiving attention in the field of power electronics. Not having an oxide layer, it is resistant to radiation as well as high voltage and high temperature. In an irradiation test, the device remained unchanged up to a dose of 100,000 Sv and showed a voltage change of less than 1 V even at a very high dose of 10,000,000 Sv.

[…]

Research on the radiation hardness of semiconductors is more advanced in the United States and other Western countries than in Japan. Because many of the relevant technologies are military related, it is difficult to import devices and share technologies. At present, it appears more practical to conduct decommissioning using domestic equipment, which requires further research and development.

h/t Anonymous tips

Published: August 8th, 2012 at 10:55 am ET
By

26 comments

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26 comments to 10,000,000 sieverts ok for new device developed for use at Fukushima Daiichi

  • Time Is Short Time Is Short

    "At present, it appears more practical to conduct decommissioning using domestic equipment, which requires further research and development."

    Mechanical cranes and salt-water pumps that require human maintenance workers. Forget the workers. They're all in their last stages of life, with no replacements on the horizon. Who's going to maintain and repair all the 'domestic equipment' that will surely fail, on a regular basis? The water pumps alone will need to be pumping 24/7/365 for tens of thousands of years.

  • nohobear nohobear

    I feel better after reading this good news, don't you? And yet,
    why do I feel there's been a translation error? intentional or otherwise. unchanged up to 100,000 Sieverts? Resistant to 10,000,000 sieverts? Really? Isn't that like a disintegration ray gun level of radiation? Considering 5-10 sieverts will toast a human being instantly.

    The research team would make better use of their time and resources figuring out how to encapuslate Fukushima now, with current technologies and materials and stop the current emissions and leakage into the environment. All well and good to try to design semiconductors that can withstand 100,000 sieverts, but unless one is planning on walking barefoot on top of the corium, how about figuring out how human beings can withstand inhaling daily 5 to 10 hot particles of cesium or plutonium first.

    Thanks all for listening to my sarcastic rant. I usually have one a day now with my morning coffee, while reading the latest clown news from Fukushima.

    • patb2009

      There are areas of the plant with Rad rates of 10-30 Sv/hr. if your device can handle 100,000 Sv without degradation, it can be in the site for a year. before it starts to decay.

      Now that the japanese are slowing down repairs to develope their own high rad industry, is sad and pathetic. they should have been buying as many american rad hardened chips as we make or the russians make, and then ground out gear to instrument the rac.

      that they are slowing progress for the 2-4 years it takes to turn out their own domestic product means they don't think they can fix anything, but will need a domestic industry for the inevitable spread or future accidents.

      • flatsville

        >>>Now that the japanese are slowing down repairs to develope their own high rad industry, is sad and pathetic.<<<

        >>>sarc on<<<

        Yes, it is…and it will divert much needed resources and expertise on the continued development and refinement of sex robots.

        I am afraid the US military (and other western powers)will never trade or turn over rad hardened chips and equipment (…unless those sex robots were fully functional off the line as of now.)

        Do the Japanese still make the little doggie robots? Perhaps they could teach them fetch fuel rods.

        >>>sarc off<<

    • Andres Arce Andres Arce

      another farce ?

  • weeman

    The military might as well release this technology, no use keeping it to yourself, if the worse case senerio happens we are all dead. Once the robot is working in that environment no man will be able to retrieve it and study technology anyway so your secrets are safe.

    • flatsville

      I think it is the "before" period that the military might be worried about. For example, the Russians were maters at reverse engineering embargoed chips…so much so, that they even included the flaws in their copies.

      If the US military were to release this technology they would have to babysit it every step of the way and supervise its' use on site until it was so radioactive no one in their right mind would touch it…and then continue to monitor it for fear that japcorpgov might in fact find someone not entirely in their right mind (or force someone) to reverse engineer the product.

      I wouldn't rule out a recruitment effort for engineering Kamikazes, threats or violence to accomplish this.

  • VyseLegendaire VyseLegendaire

    They will not employ the technology here because it belongs to the folks at the Pentagon, who need to expand their war theater constantly just to stay afloat. Who cares about those lowly Japanese who we force fed reactors 40 years ago? They can all burn for all we care!

  • chrisk9

    A complete waste of time and money. What kind of robot is going to go into the drywell basement, down stairs and ladders, around debris,through standing water and pick up some melted fuel.The dose rates are in the melted fuel ballpark, so I am guessing that is the objective. Tell us what your decommissioning timeline is 300 years? Because that is when humans might be able to do something, after 10 half lives of cesium. The Mars landing was much more simple.

    Is the JAEA the equivalent of the NRC? Then they are complete idiots. Who with any brain cell think they will really "decommission" anything. My blood boils every time I hear that word.

  • Sickputer

    Radiation Hardening 101:

    http://m.spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/semiconductors/design/radiationhardening-101

    SP: A good laymen's explanation from last year that provides some facts for this topic.

    Not covered in the article, but I suspect that the US and Russian/Chinese interest in this area is focused on military survival of assets on a smaller scale like a super soldier bot or vehicle versus an excavator needed to dig out tons of hot waste. Probably just another Tepco pipedream.

    • flatsville

      >>>…is focused on military survival of assets on a smaller scale like a super soldier bot or vehicle versus an excavator needed to dig out tons of hot waste….<<<

      If the military could focus on a super soldier bot that could operate a hardened excavator, we'd have something useful.

      The Russians whipped-up a small remote control bulldozer they hoped to use in the Chernobyl clean-up. They initially got it to work, but it failed in short order due to the radiation. There is film of the unit and operators.

      It's damn sad that after 26 years and demonstrated need that the US military hasn't developed something functional to operate in nuclear plant radioactive environments…at least that we know about.

      These no telling what is aboard nuc subs.

  • yogda yogda

    The military has had EMP/Rad resistant toys for some time.
    Faraday would be proud.

    • flatsville

      Aside from communications, command and control, etc…, any toys that might be useful in a nuclear plant remediation? Something actually useful?

  • arclight arclight

    Published on Aug 8, 2012 by MsMilkytheclown1
    All Things Political host Steve Leal interviews chief engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education and financial analyst Russell Lowe. The show discusses the recently released Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report; the San Onofre steam generator modifications and ensuing complications in California; loan guarantees for the nuclear industry; radiation concerns worldwide; whistleblowers and domestic nuclear issues; and a future with energy alternatives.
    Nuclear Power: Everything But The Kitchen Sink…

    Published on Aug 8, 2012 by MsMilkytheclown1
    All Things Political host Steve Leal interviews chief engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Energy Education and financial analyst Russell Lowe. The show discusses the recently released Fukushima Nuclear Accident Independent Investigation Commission report; the San Onofre steam generator modifications and ensuing complications in California; loan guarantees for the nuclear industry; radiation concerns worldwide; whistleblowers and domestic nuclear issues; and a future with energy alternatives.
    Nuclear Power: Everything But The Kitchen Sink…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYQNd2ybiDg&feature=player_embedded#!

    http://www.fairewinds.com/content/nuclear-power-everything-kitchen-sink%E2%80%A6

  • Sol Man

    The arrival of the contaminants to the West coast of the U.S. is continuous. Everyday brings more. As the crops, water supplies, air is constantly receiving more burden, so are we. The plans and work for encapsulation should have been immediate. When the body burden becomes so great it is lights out. Why do they hesitate?

  • Radio VicFromOregon

    Following the thought on sharing or not sharing secret technology like hardened rad chips, that brings up the question of whether to share technology with someone you trust somewhat to help civilians and risk having it given to those you trust very little? I think that the US sees Japan as an ally against the Chinese, so may probably do the sharing. If the Pentagon chooses not to, then we know the US will have lost the last shred of any moral decency.

    • rambojim

      The government of Japan and Tepco Power Company have no moral decency..

    • Time Is Short Time Is Short

      Strange that the US would break every nuclear weapon non-proliferation treaty they've ever signed, in order to share the world's most dangerous nuclear weapon technology with an enemy we were at war with 70 years ago, at a cost of tens of thousands of American lives, and now they won't share a circuit board component design that might save billions of lives.

      I have a problem with their priorities. Maybe it's just me . . .

  • pierre

    I don't have a problem with their priorities if I assume they are trying to kill us. my problem is with their ethics, but seeing as they don't have any, that's my problem.

    for any techno fixes using technology we don't have , I say, close all the nuke power plants until such time as you can demonstrate the technology.
    as in cars, fasten seatbelt before driving away.

  • Its a feel good story anyways. Just because they have a semi conductor that will survive mega radiation doesn't mean the fully functioning robot is anywhere near on the horizon. If USA or others have technology to help this scenario it is criminal to withhold it.
    Vic said "I think that the US sees Japan as an ally against the Chinese," I think the US still views Japan as a conquered nation since WW2. US has lots of troops stationed in Japan. Why? Does it make Japan more secure? For whom?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Forces_Japan

    And if US sees Japan as an ally against China, and if China is some sort of threat to USA why are so many consumer goods made in China and exported to USA? Whatever happened to "Buy American"? Or even "Buy Canadian?"

    Why does USA let money go to China? Because they are friends or because back room deals get made? Democracy requires eternal vigilance.

    If you click on my name it will take you to a humorous YouTube video. But the robot is real it gets kicked on ice and regains its balance. Very high tech device that still basically runs on a lawn mower engine. The 10,000,000 Sv. semi conductor will not help this device.