Los Alamos Lab: We can find Fukushima corium with x-ray type image — “No core” a possibility? (PHOTOS)

Published: October 18th, 2012 at 12:12 am ET


Title: Damaged Fukushima nuclear material could be imaged
Source: UPI
Date: Oct. 17, 2012 at 7:44 PM

U.S. researchers say cosmic rays could be used to gather detailed information from inside the damaged cores of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactors


The process is similar to the way X-ray images are produced


“We now have a concept by which the Japanese can gather crucial data about what is going on inside their damaged reactor cores […],” Konstantin Borozdin of Los Alamos’ Subatomic Physics Group said.


Cosmic Ray Radiography of the Damaged Cores of the Fukushima Reactors
Konstantin Borozdin, Steven Greene,  Zarija Lukic, Edward Milner, Haruo Miyadera, Christopher Morris
Accepted to Physical Review Letters
September 12, 2012
Emphasis Added


Two muon-imaging methods that use flux attenuation and multiple Coulomb scattering of cosmic-ray muons are being studied as tools for diagnosing the damaged cores of the Fukushima reactors.


The model of the reactor included all major structures, the reactor building, containment vessel and the pressure vessel. Calculations were performed for an intact core, a core with a 1 m diameter of material removed from the core and placed in the bottom of the pressure vessel, and with no core.


At one hour the difference in scattering between the images with and without the core is visible and by ten hours the reactor core is visible in the scattering image. At 4 days the 1 m diameter void is visible in the core, and by 6 weeks both the void and the resulting sphere of core material the below the core are clearly visible.


We have shown that 6 weeks (300 m^2 weeks of exposure) of data provide an image with enough quality to observed 1% (a 1 m diameter sphere) of core material moved to a location below the core using scattering radiography. […] high quality data for radiography of the Fukushima cores from outside of the buildings can be accomplished with scattering radiography and large detectors. On site tests at Fukushima Daiichi have shown these measurements to be practical.

See also: Japan scientists say they can find melted reactor fuel

Published: October 18th, 2012 at 12:12 am ET


Related Posts

  1. Kyodo: “If we find where the molten nuclear fuel is located, it will give us a clue” says researcher — Detectors to locate corium already placed near Reactors 1 and 2 in May by Los Alamos Lab October 18, 2012
  2. TV: Experts conclude no nuclear fuel left inside Fukushima reactor — Total meltdown “highly likely” — Conducting more tests to determine how far down corium has penetrated (PHOTOS & VIDEO) September 26, 2015
  3. Dawn at Fukushima: Enhanced image exposes smoke/steam billowing from reactor buildings No. 2, 3, 4 (PHOTOS) May 11, 2011
  4. Gov’t report suggests situation “far worse” than meltdown — It “is the worst possibility in a nuclear accident” June 8, 2011
  5. NRC on Fukushima: Fuel rods violently consumed by self-sustaining reaction — Molten core then “on the move” — Radiological impact is huge (VIDEO) December 21, 2011

22 comments to Los Alamos Lab: We can find Fukushima corium with x-ray type image — “No core” a possibility? (PHOTOS)

  • Cataclysmic Cataclysmic

    wow! I guess this will speed up our little game of "where did the corium go" any bets? Now if only we knew where those "test" sites at Fukushima are…

  • Sickputer

    Don't celebrate too soon.. From the January article:

    "What Nakamura's team doesn't know is whether the current radiation level at Fukushima No. 1 is low enough to install the image-capturing equipment, Nakamura said. If the level is too high, it would harm workers and the images wouldn't be precise due to the obscuring effect of gamma rays, he said."


  • charlie3

    before the fukushima fumble, did you ever imagine how ineffective scientists and engineers were?

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    No antidote for meltdowns. Run away train with no brakes.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi TheBigPicture

      I agree, there isn't an antidote for meltdowns.
      Good analysts of this catastrophic disaster.
      That is exactly what it is, a runaway train with no brakes.

  • Urban27

    Knowing where the cores are, are of course beneficial.
    Than you can see how deep it has gone, how much there is, if it has separated to different places.
    To have a survey is a priority.
    Just start scanning.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "On site tests at Fukushima Daiichi have shown these measurements to be practical." Their scenerio is for a core more or less intact, and more or less in position inside the reactor. Imaging would be done above ground. The most damage to the core that these people can imagine is that perhaps a 1m blob has dripped onto the floor. They are in for a big surprise, don't you think? Keep looking, boys and girls.

  • AGreenRoad AGreenRoad

    Radioactive Xenon Gas; Dangerous And Lung Cancer Causing Isotope; via A Green Road

    Depleted Uranium Effects In The Human Body; via A Green Road http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2012/03/depleted-uranium-effects-in-human-body.html

  • arclight arclight


    and documenting ians latest blog

    On 2012/01/12, at 11:50, Noam Chomsky wrote:

    It is a privilege to be able to lend personal support to the Fukushima Evacuate Children Lawsuit.
    There is no better measure of the moral health of a society than how it treats the most vulnerable people within it, and none or more vulnerable, or more precious, than children who are the victims of unconscionable actions.
    For Japan, and for all of us, this is a test that we must not fail.


  • hbjon hbjon

    Take a plastic bucket with a crack in it. Fill the bucket with water. Eventually the water will leak down and out of the bucket. Nuclear fuel is heavy and will displace water immediately like it was air. The fuel liquidates solids as it comes into contact and transfers its heat to the solid material. Gravitation continues to pull the liquids in a downward direction towards the paths of least resistance. Water drainage pipes could give the fuel an easy path at first, then they become liquified and part of the unified mass of corium as it continued to displace earth and rock. The cores have all united a half mile beneath the surface and continue to fission. We have a ticking time bomb on our hands.

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      hbjon says: Cores are half a mile beneath the surface. hbjon is perhaps closer than TEPCO's best guess.

      hbjon, a question: Your post would imply that the 3 coriums ate their way through the mudrock, then hit granite bedrock and spread out into one big thin corium pond at a depth of half a mile. Won't the corium exhaust itself at some point as it works through all the metal, concrete, and mudrock? The price the corium pays as it melts the stuff that impedes its downward flow is that it loses heat, cools, then at some point solidifies. Increasing radiation levels around the world indicate to me that the coriums aren't that deep. My guess is the coriums have spread out and solidified, but at 25' to 75' deep. We agree that having over 200 tons of corium far below ground means that humanity is facing a much bigger problem than TEP.gov has indicated.

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

        There is no bedrock and there never has been. Only porous sandstone and landfill. A guaranteed disaster. Where the nuclear industry is involved, there is only lies about the geological surveys (e.g., Yucca Mt guaranteed disaster), shoddy workmanship and shoddy construction materials and shoddy design, and coverups from the safety inspections. Then they make money on the clean ups which are again a total disaster.

        • Sickputer

          anne: I wish you were were wrong, but you're right. Not because I dislike being wrong myself, but because in this case the Pacific Ocean and the world is really screwed.

          There is no granite bedrock under Fukushima Daiichi. It's all sandstone with a vicious earthquake faultline running straight to the sea.

          "The Fukushima Daiichi Power Station is located on the east coast of Honshu island, in northeastern Japan, on a Cenozoic sedimentary ground, i.e. belonging to the current geological era (from 65.5
          million years ago to the present). It is separated from the Abukuma granite plateau by the Futuba fault."


          SP: A lot of links are now dead in that November 2011 article as Tepkill has been trying to cover up the fact they knew about the dangerous earthquake faultline underneath the Daiichi plant…probably Daini also.

          No granite layer down 800 meters…for over 1,300 meters there are these layers of mudstone/sandstone:

          – T3: muddy and sandy rock (Tomioka layer, Neogene)
          – T2: sandstone with some inclusion of tuff (Tomioka layer, Neogene)
          – T1: sandstone with heavy inclusion of tuff (Tomioka layer, Neogene)
          – TI: clayey sandstone (Taga layer, Paleogene – Neogene)
          – Yu: alternating muddy and sandy rocks (Yunagawa layer, Early Miocene)
          – Sr: hard sandstone and muddy rocks (Shiramizu layer, intermediate between the Oligocene and Miocene)

          To be cont…

          • Sickputer

            "In several of these cross-sections, an ancient fault, predating the later Miocene, is clearly visible under the nuclear site. Whereas the geological survey conducted prior to the construction of the plant does not reveal this fault (drilling did not go beyond a depth of 200 meters at the time), it is clear from the documents dated 2009 and 2010 that Tepco and the NSC have known about it for several years."

            …"Good and bad news
            The good news is that the radioactive water leaking from the plant will not be able to spread towards the Japanese inland and the Abukuma plateau due to the downward slope of the geological layers. The bad news is that there exists a fault which appears to be active right under the Fukushima Daiichi plant itself: this allows, and will continue to allow, radioactive pollution of aquifers over a depth of several hundreds of meters, as it runs through the different "waterproof" strata. This also means that the radionuclides will naturally be carried towards the sea by this
            underground water stream flowing through the permeable layers of sandstone."

            "Sandstone is indeed the ideal rock for aquifers, as it is both permeable and fractured, providing easy movement of water.
            And finally, there is the problem of the type of rock on which the plant was built being rather "soft", meaning that an earthquake can only destabilize the buildings."


      • hbjon hbjon

        I can defend my statements using logic and observation as a premise. 1 gram of matter has the same heat potential as 2000 tons of coal, though it doesn't manifest instantaneously. The thought of corium forming pancakes has been hypothesized but not proven. Drop a molten blob of lead from a mile up and it hits the ground as a round marble. The space between the coriums heats and all moisture from mud, sand, and ground water begins to evaporate and dry. In terms of heat, an unmoderated blob of corium pays a small price, and actually sustains its energy in a central location quite easily. Stability can only be achieved if fission ceases. Like the motion picture, Vyger travels through the universe and gains energy. Controlled fission is only a phenomenon that occurs in NPP's. Remember, there are no control rods and protective fuel rods after a threshold temerature is achieved (meltdown). Imagine how large a surface area needs to be to dissipate the heat required for stability. Once below the boiling point of water, temperatures would find a sort of equillibrium as heat is drawn from the outter crust of corium. Has there been any shallow earthquakes in the region?

        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          Nice, hbjon! If I follow your logic, this is what I get:
          The key seems to be the ability of corium to sustain its heat. Spent fuel rods have to be cooled in refrigerated pools for a number of years, before even the residual decay heat is sufficiently dissipated to allow the fuel assemblies to go into dry cask storage. The nuclear fuel we are talking about isn't spent, isn't in a pool of refrigerated water, and is still fissioning. There is enough energy in uranium that the conversion of less than 800 mg of uranium into energy (Wiki the "Fat Man Bomb") destroyed Hiroshima during WW2. Certainly, if conditions in and around the corium continue to facilitate fission and transient criticalities, the corium might remain hot and active for hundreds of years. The three Rogue Nuclear Reactors under the Fukushima nuclear plants lack control rods, reactor vessels, containment vessels, secondary containment buildings, control rooms, and human operators. Nothing the human race can do will stop the fissioning of the corium, meaning that they may remain hot and active for hundreds of years. The coriums started out at just over 200 tons, but have picked up matter from the reactor, containment, basements, and mudrock as it descended. The corium may by now be as much as 400 tons of molten material. According to the isotopes in Fukushima fallout, fissioning and transient criticalities are still ongoing in the corium, wherever it is.

          • hbjon hbjon

            I think what you meant to say is that 800 mg of the glue that holds nucleons together was converted into the energy in Hiroshima. You catch on quick PhilipUpNorth. The sfp fuel would have added to the corium as well as soon as the zircalloy has burned away and the sf dropped to the bottom of the pool. It was reported that the sfp's were overloaded with fresh and spent fuel. The term spent fuel may be a bit misleading.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "Approximately 600 to 860 milligrams of matter in the bomb was converted into the active energy of heat and radiation (see mass-energy equivalence for detail). It exploded with an energy of 16 kilotons of TNT (67 TJ)." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Boy. I misspoke, it was the Little Boy Bomb that killed the entire population of Hiroshima. (I still think of that as a poor decision. Could have had a demonstration over a Japanese Fleet, for instance.). "Fat Man" was the name of the Nagasaki bomb.

    What happened to all the spent fuel? Is most of it burned away, or has it melted into a blob at the bottom of the water in SFPs1,2,&3. As we see with SFP4, which BY ITSELF CAN TAKE OUT THE HUMAN RACE, the dangers of spent fuel cannot be overstated. My suspicion is that sea water was pumped into the pools in time to keep the melted spent fuel from melting through the bottoms of the pools.

    And still, the GE Mark I death machines are allowed to operate with spent fuel pools 100' up in the air.

  • arclight arclight

    los alamos lol! couldnt find weapons graade material in an old kodak factory 🙂

    Kodak Corporation and nuclear proliferation issues for the third world -Weapons-grade uranium
    “It’s such an odd situation because private companies just don’t have this material,” Miles Pomper, a senior research associate at the Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, D.C., told the Democrat and Chronicle.

    No kidding. A spokesman for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission told the Los Angeles Times that the company had enriched 1,582 grams of uranium-235 up to 93.4%, a level considered weapons-grade. Good thing Kodak isn’t in Iran; that’s the kind of thing Israel’s been threatening to go to war over.


  • Andres Arce Andres Arce

    I suppose either a couple of robots could be dispatched to the proper locations for it.
    It wouldn't matter though, 'cause the 'cool shutdown' will keep contaminating the underground for a decade with its coolant, unavoidably.

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    Fukushima Coriums Melted Through The Concrete Base Mat Under Multiple Nuclear Reactors In 18 Hours, According To NRC Study