Journal Article Internal structure of cesium-bearing radioactive microparticles released from Fukushima nuclear power plant

Yamaguchi, Noriko  ,  Mitome, Masanori  ,  Akiyama-Hasegawa, Kotone  ,  Asano, Maki  ,  Adachi, Kouji  ,  Kogure, Toshihiro

6p.20548 , 2016-02 , Nature Publishing Group
Microparticles containing substantial amounts of radiocesium collected from the ground in Fukushima were investigated mainly by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray microanalysis with scanning TEM (STEM). Particles of around 2 μm in diameter are basically silicate glass containing Fe and Zn as transition metals, Cs, Rb and K as alkali ions, and Sn as substantial elements. These elements are homogeneously distributed in the glass except Cs which has a concentration gradient, increasing from center to surface. Nano-sized crystallites such as copper- zinc- and molybdenum sulfide, and silver telluride were found inside the microparticles, which probably resulted from the segregation of the silicate and sulfide (telluride) during molten-stage. An alkali-depleted layer of ca. 0.2 μm thick exists at the outer side of the particle collected from cedar leaves 8 months after the nuclear accident, suggesting gradual leaching of radiocesium from the microparticles in the natural environment.

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