Next-Generation Industrial Applications of Muography

On March 29th, a meeting of researchers and business people concerned with the future of industrial applications of muography convened at the University of Tokyo Hongo Campus Sanjo Conference Hall.  Jun Matsushima (University of Tokyo) opened the morning session with a brief introduction.  Then Hiroyuki Tanaka (University of Tokyo) went into more detail about the cooperative research infrastructure for science and society.  He emphasized the need for academic and industrial communities focused on muography in Japan to concentrate on integrating SDGs (sustainable development goals) and international cooperation into future plans.  SDGs are focused on the “humanosphere” (regions of Earth that humans interact with and are impacted by) which includes not only the ocean and atmosphere but also volcanoes, natural resources, and caves.  He also outlined how current projects such as the NEWCUT lab will fit in with these goals.  Kunihiro Morishima (Nagoya University) discussed how some of the muography emulsion technology has been utilized, for example with the French group headed by CEA as part of the Scan Pyramids project which will be adapted for use to monitor nuclear reactors like Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.  Next, from the industrial side Toshihiro Tanaka representing NEC (a company that has been collaborating with the University of Tokyo and Wigner Research Centre for Physics on muography projects) discussed optical fiber technology.   He described a recent NEC/Verizon joint experiment with optical fibers that helped monitor road conditions and discussed the benefits of integrating this technology into future muography experiments. 

After a break for lunch, participants returned for a lecture by Kenji Shimazoe (University of Tokyo) concerning development of detection technology for small-sized muography devices.  He addressed the questions of how some of the successful applications of gamma ray detectors might serve as an example for muography detector developments.  Natural resources have been explored with muography worldwide and the next 2 talks focused on these issues.  First, Susumu Abe (Oil Resources Development Co.,Ltd) brought up some of the challenges of using muography to search for oil reserves.  Then Koji Kasahara (Oil Resources Development Co.,Ltd) discussed mechanical property mapping that has been done by his company and the importance of density information in this activity – something that muography can contribute.  Muography has been applied to public infrastructure successfully in Japan and Tadahiro Kim’s (Kyushu University) talk was about the methods of muography imaging 20 cm bricks of Fire Blast Walls of furnaces with PHITS (Particle and Heavy Ion Transport Code System)-based muography used in steel production. Lastly, Keiichi Suzuki (Kawasaki Geological Co., Ltd) discussed how muography may be applied to the Japanese Geological Survey for civil engineering.

To conclude the meeting, a technology exchange meeting followed with further networking and discussion between participants.