Seawater was injected into reactor cores of Units 1, 2, and 3 in the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station as an urgent coolant. It is considered that the injected seawater causes corrosion of steels of the reactor pressure vessel and primary containment vessel. To investigate the effects of gamma-rays irradiation on weight loss in carbon steel and low-alloy steel, corrosion tests were performed in diluted seawater at 50°C under gamma-rays irradiation. Specimens were irradiated with dose rates of 4.4 kGy/h and 0.2 kGy/h. To evaluate the effects of hydrazine (N2H4) on the reduction of oxygen and hydrogen peroxide, N2H4 was added to the diluted seawater. In the diluted seawater without N2H4, weight loss in the steels irradiated with 0.2 kGy/h was similar to that in the unirradiated steels, and weight loss in the steels irradiated with 4.4 kGy/h increased to approximate 1.7 times of those in the unirradiated steels. Weight loss in the steels irradiated in the diluted seawater containing N2H4 was similar to that in the diluted seawater without N2H4. When N2 was introduced into the gas phase in the flasks during gamma-rays irradiation, weight loss in the steels decreased.
One of the important problems in the control of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant is the removal of fuel debris. As preparation, a nondestructive inspection method for identifying the position of fuel debris is required. Therefore, we focused on a nondestructive inspection method using cosmic-ray muons, which is utilized for ground investigation. In this study, the applicability of this method for internal visualization of the reactor was confirmed by a preliminary test of the internal visualization of the High-Temperature Engineering Test Reactor (HTTR) of Japan Atomic Energy Agency. By using cosmic-ray muons, main components in the HTTR reactor, such as concrete walls and the reactor core, can be observed from the outside of the containment vessel of the HTTR. From the results of the preliminary examination, it appears that the inspection method with muons is promising for searching for fuel debris in a reactor. Based on the results, we also proposed some improvements of this system for its application to inspection at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.
A new safety concept in a high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) was proposed to provide the most advanced nuclear reactor that exerts no harmful consequences on the people and the environment even if multiple failures in all safety systems occur. The proposed safety concept is that the consequence of the accidents is mitigated by the confinement of fission products employing not multiple physical barriers as in light water reactors, but only the cladding of fuel (i.e., the coating layers of the coated fuel particle). The progression of the events that lead to the loss or degradation of the confinement function of the coating layers (i.e., core heat up, oxidation of the coating layers, and explosion of carbon monoxide) is suppressed by only physical phenomena (i.e., the Doppler effect, thermal radiation and natural convection, formation of a protective oxide layer for coating layers of fuel, oxidation of carbon monoxide) that emerge deterministically as a cause of the events. The feasibility studies for severe events and related information revealed that the HTGR design based on this safety concept is technically feasible. This concept indicates the direction in which nuclear reactor research should be headed in terms of safety after the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.
The temperature dependence of viscosity below and above the glass transition temperature (Tg) of simulated high-level radioactive waste (HLW) glass was measured by the fibre bending method and the parallel plate method. The ratio of activation energy for viscous flow below Tg to that above Tg was found to be 0.1, which is significantly smaller than the generally accepted value of 0.5. The long-term crystallization time of HLW glass below Tg was estimated from measured crystallization and viscosity data. A formula of the long-term crystallization time was evaluated with the assistance of a TTT diagram. The HLW glass was evaluated to have a sufficiently long-term stability, even if it is exposed to a maximum temperature of 150°C during the disposal period.