A Collaborative Database to Support the Ongoing Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant Decommissioning

Research Area:

Nuclear Hazards and Risks


Dr Peter Martin, Dr David Richards, Professor Tom Scott - University of Bristol


Diamond Light Source, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Sellafield Ltd.

Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)

Contact: peter.martin@bristol.ac.uk


                     Analysis of radioactive particulate 

The Challenge

The accident at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (FDNPP) in March 2011 represents one of the worst radioactive release events to have ever occurred. In the aftermath of the event approximately 160,000 people were evacuated from their homes - many of whom are still to return due to the high levels of radiation that surround the plant.

Although several years have now passed since the multi-reactor incident, there still exists a considerable gap in the connected knowledge of not only where the radioactive particulate released during the accident exists and its state/form, but also the condition of the multiple damaged reactor cores and the resulting decommissioning challenges associated with the fuel debris retrieval operations.

The Solution

Project IPAD: International Particle Analysis Database

The existing fragmented knowledge of materials has been pulled together into a database that provides a cross-institutional, multinational platform to share expertise as the decommissioning progresses.

Information pertaining to the particulates’ location can be combined with experimentally-derived information (e.g. structure, form, composition) to provide a much clearer insight into the nature of the accident, its environmental legacy and more importantly, the conditions that will be faced during the soon to commence clean-up activities.

This will include the numerous particle samples brought to the UK sourced from within the Fukushima restricted zone and analysed using the specialist facilities at Diamond Light Source in Oxfordshire.

The Impact

This collaborative platform will:

  1. Accelerate the understanding of the environmental hazards associated with this hard-to-detect material
  2. Provide the required physical data to support in-situ (reactor) measurements made using systems such as the University of Bristol "Rad Hard" Diamond Detection system.
  3. Include technical documents detailing methodologies to separate radioactive particles from environmental samples
  4. Protect human health by improving knowledge on this harmful, radioactive and chemotoxic contamination that is easily inhalable being of micron-scale


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