Japan is faced with the task of cleaning up thousands of square kilometres of land contaminated by radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after it was crippled by a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.
The National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology said it has improved on a method that uses an acidic solution to remove radioactive material from soil. Without this method, removing topsoil in the 12 municipalities surrounding the Daiichi plant could result in millions of tonnes of soil that needs to be disposed of or stored, it added.
“The cost to dispose of or store soil removed from Fukushima would be astronomical. Our method could cut the amount of soil that needs to be removed to one hundredth of what it would otherwise be, which also means disposal and storage costs would be slashed by the same extent,” said Tohru Kawamoto, who led the research.
In the new method, the acidic solution is heated to almost boiling point, after which almost all of the cesium is taken out through agents known as Prussian Blue nanoparticles, allowing the solution to be used again.
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- France Releases Map of Cesium-137 Deposition Across the Pacific – Shows the US More Contaminated Than Western Japan | EX-SKF (enformable.com)
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- Map of Cesium-137 Deposition Across the Pacific by CEREA Shows the US More Contaminated Than Western Japan (ex-skf.blogspot.com)
- Soil contamination levels near Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant (enformable.com)
- 29 million bq/m² detected in Okumamachi nearby Fukushima meltdown (enenews.com)
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- Japan to Spend $2.9 Billion to Clean Up Tepco Radiation Spills – 16 of 22 Incinerating Facilities Contain Radioactive Waste Exceeding Standards (enformable.com)
- 34 points near Fukushima plant exceed radiation standard used for Chernobyl (enformable.com)