Christopher Morris and his fellow group of Los Alamos scientists will not forget their trip to Japan anytime soon.
The team was in Japan to lend credence to their research that muon imaging may offer the best hope of assessing damage to the reactor cores and locating the melted fuel.
Muon imaging, which utilizes naturally occurring muons created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays to image dense objects, should solve the problem of determining the spatial distribution of the reactor fuel in the short term, the LANL team said.
“Muons are scattered more strongly by high-Z materials such as uranium fuel in Fukushima’s reactor,” explained LANL researcher Haruo Miyadera. “By measuring the scattering angle, and understanding the physics of Coulomb multiple scattering, one can assess the locations and amount of the melted fuel.”
While they were excited about their research, Morris said they were equally stunned by what they saw on a trip to Fukushima last summer.
“We left from Tokyo, spent the night in the hotel and went up the coast the following day,” Morris said. “As we drove up the coast, I noticed there were a lot of concrete paths. Then I realized this is where the houses were before the tsunami.