Neutron Beam at the Japanese reactor. What is it?

Neutron beam graphic emitting from a neutron star

Question: What is a neutron beam?

Answer: Beams of neutrons can be obtained by drilling a hole in the side of a nuclear reactor. The neutron beams reported in the below report are evidence that there is a hole in the reactor which is allowing the energetic neutrons created in nuclear fission to escape through it – evidence of ongoing fission.  While a positively or negatively charged beam contains either protons or electrons, neutrons (being neutral) have no charge whatsoever and “do not pose harm to  living tissue”.  So though the Neutron beams are not dangerous the troubling part of this story is that the beams are evidence of “Nuclear Fission” which means this accident will probably escalate to near Chernobyl levels.
Milton Thomas

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Wednesday it has observed a neutron beam, a kind of radioactive ray, 13 times on the premises of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant after it was crippled by the massive March 11 quake-tsunami disaster.

TEPCO, the operator of the nuclear plant, said the neutron beam measured about 1.5 kilometers southwest of the plant’s No. 1 and 2 reactors over three days from March 13 and is equivalent to 0.01 to 0.02 microsieverts per hour and that this is not a dangerous level.

The utility firm said it will measure uranium and plutonium, which could emit a neutron beam, as well.

In the 1999 criticality accident at a nuclear fuel processing plant run by JCO Co. in Tokaimura, Ibaraki Prefecture, uranium broke apart continually in nuclear fission, causing a massive amount of neutron beams.

In the latest case at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, such a criticality accident has yet to happen.

But the measured neutron beam may be evidence that uranium and plutonium leaked from the plant’s nuclear reactors and spent nuclear fuels have discharged a small amount of neutron beams through nuclear fission.


HKirschner makes a good comment, But you must be in the direct line of the “beam” and then stay in front of the beam for some time before you would receive future cell damage. This is akin to walking out in front of a bus. Neutron beams are being used for cancer therapy to kill cancer cells “Through Focussed and directed’ treatment.

1 Response for “Neutron Beam at the Japanese reactor. What is it?”

  1. hkirschner says:

    “do not pose harm to living tissue” ?!
    From Wikipedia: “… in living tissue, neutrons have a relatively high relative biological effectiveness, and are roughly ten times more effective at causing cancers or LD-50s compared to photon or beta radiation of equivalent radiation exposure.”

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