The University of Liverpool researchers are developing new sensors that will help the recovery and regeneration of the post-disaster Fukushima region and enable improved monitoring and control of radioactivity at nuclear sites worldwide.

Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the research will focus on ways to detect, measure and monitor nuclear radiation in the environment to facilitate higher resolution location and monitoring of underground radioactive substance than before.

Comprising engineers, environmental scientists and physicists, the team aims to develop smaller and more accurate versions of Compton-geometry sensors, to see how radioactivity moves with changes in water flow or sediment movement, and how the radiation in contaminated soil gets into the food chain through plants and animals.

University of Liverpool Department of Physics source Dr Andrew Boston said the sensors can find the source of radiation with much greater accuracy and sensitivity.

"They have the advantage of being able to locate the source in 3D and our ultimate goal is to develop smaller, lighter detector equipment with potential savings in measurement time," Boston added.

The 12-month proof-of-concept project is worth £155,000 and will underpin a long-term program of inter-disciplinary work across the University and with partners in Japan.