Los Alamos researchers found
that by placing a pair of muon detectors in front of and behind an
object, and measuring the degree of scatter the muons underwent as they
interacted with the materials they penetrated, the scientists could
gather detailed images. The method works particularly well with highly
interfering materials such as uranium, the researchers said.
a computer model, the research team simulated a nuclear reactor with
percentages of its core removed and placed elsewhere within the reactor
building. They then compared the Los Alamos scattering method to the
traditional transmission method. The simulation showed that passive
observation of the simulated core over six weeks using the scattering
method provided high-resolution images that clearly showed that material
was missing from the main core, as well as the location of the missing
material elsewhere in the containment building.
the transmission method was barely able to provide a blurry image of the
core itself during the same six-week period, according to the Los Alamos researchers.
now have a concept by which the Japanese can gather crucial data about
what is going on inside their damaged reactor cores with minimal human
exposure to the high radiation fields that exist in proximity to the
reactor buildings," Borozdin said. "Muon images could be valuable in
more effectively planning and executing faster remediation of the