Engineers develop LFCMs to clean Chernobyl & Fukushima

07 February 2020

Materials that could be used to help clean-up the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations have been developed by engineers at the University of Sheffield.

The materials can simulate the Lava-like Fuel Containing Materials (LFCMs) that are obstructing decommissioning efforts at the nuclear disaster sites.

LFCMs are a mixture of highly radioactive molten nuclear fuel and building materials that fuse together during a nuclear meltdown.

During the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear accidents, radioactive materials mixed with fuel cladding and other building materials in the reactors and are now incredibly difficult and dangerous to remove from the sites. If left untreated, the LFCMs pose an ongoing radiological safety risk to the local environment.

In the new research published recently, the University of Sheffield engineers at the NucleUS Immobilisation Science Laboratory (ISL) report their development of small batches of low radioactivity materials that can be used to simulate LFCMs.

These simulated materials have been used to analyze the thermal characteristics and corrosion kinetics of LFCMs.