Journal Article Development of a water purifier for radioactive cesium removal from contaminated natural water by radiation-induced graft polymerization

瀬古, 典明  ,  保科, 宏行  ,  笠井, 昇  ,  柴田卓弥  ,  佐伯, 誠一  ,  植木, 悠二

Six years after the Fukushima-nuclear accident, the dissolved radioactive cesium (Cs) is now hardly detected in environmental natural waters. These natural waters are directly used as source of drinking and domestic waters in disaster-stricken areas in Fukushima. However, the possibility that some radioactive Cs adsorbed on soil or leaves will contaminate these natural waters during heavy rains or typhoon is always present. In order for the returning residents to live with peace of mind, it is important to demonstrate the safety of the domestic waters that they will use for their daily life. For this purpose, we have synthesized a material for selective removal of radioactive Cs by introducing ammonium 12-molybdophosphate (AMP) onto polyethylene nonwoven fabric through radiation-induced emulsion graft polymerization technique. Water purifiers filled with the grafted Cs adsorbent were installed in selected houses in Fukushima. The capability of the grafted adsorbent to remove Cs from domestic waters was evaluated for a whole year. The results showed that the tap water filtered through the developed water purifier contained no radioactive Cs, signifying the very effective adsorption performance of the developed grafted adsorbent. From several demonstrations, we have commercialized the water purifier named “KranCsair®”. Furthermore, we have also developed a method for the mass production of the grafted nonwoven fabric. Using a 30 L grafting reactor, it was possible to produce the grafted nonwoven fabric with a suitable range of degree of grafting. When an irradiated roll of nonwoven trunk fabric with a length of 10 m and a width of 30 cm was set in the reactor filled with glycidyl methacrylate (GMA), AMP, Tween 80 monomer emulsion solution at 40 °C for 1 h, the difference of Dgs in the length and the width on roll of fabrics was negligible.

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