In April 2017, the team comprising scientists from the University of Bristol, Diamond Light Source and the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) undertook the first experiment of its kind to be performed at the Diamond synchrotron. The research, using Diamond’s combined capabilities of its I13 and I18 beamlines, sheds light on a combination of imaging and fluorescence measurements developed at Diamond. The research was supported by the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, the Daiwa Foundation and the Saskawa Foundation.
A small radioactive particle – measuring 450µm by 280µm by 250µm – collected from within the restricted zone, in an area to the north of the Fukushima Daiichi plant, underwent an analysis of its structure and composition. The research team used synchrotron radiation micro-focused X-ray fluorescence and tomography, in combination with diffraction ptychography to investigate the internal structure of the sample. The aim of the analysis was to establish the source of the material and the potential environmental risks associated with it.
Yukihiko Satou of JAEA said: “We decided to bring a radioactive particle from the Fukushima fallout to Diamond to undergo a comprehensive and independent analysis of its internal structure and 3D elemental distribution because relatively little is known about the physical and chemical nature of the radioactive particles and their long-term environmental effects.”