The Mitsui & Co. Environment Fund

Introduction to Grant Projects

Designated Assistant Professor, Thornton Blair, International Research Center for Underwater Engineering, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo

Development of continuous gamma in-situ measuring techniques for wide area seabed soil

Research grant

Project Description

As a result of the accident at the nuclear power plant, a large amount of radioactive material has spread into the sea. In particular, it is conceivable that radioactive material may remain in the surrounding seas for a prolonged period in the seabed soil. At present, sampling of seabed soil takes time, and as it becomes information regarding only a single point, it is difficult to understand the radiation levels in detail over a wide area. These activities, will develop a system capable of in-situ measurement of the radiation levels on the seabed and implement a wide area seabed soil survey. By executing this research method systematically in parallel with conventional sampling surveys, it is possible to efficiently measure the radiation levels of wide area seabed soil in a continuous manner, and will contribute to understanding the distribution of radioactive materials, and time variation.

Marine resources/food
Grant year
FY2011 Research Grants
Grant term
3 years and 2 months
August 2011 - September 2014
Grant amount
13,992,000 yen
Activity region
Seas off Fukushima Prefecture and surrounding waters
Scene immediately prior to inserting the radiation measurement device into the ocean.

Overview of the Organization

Thornton Blair, Designated Assistant Professor
Thornton Blair, Designated Assistant Professor
Specialist field
Seabed mobile sensing
Affiliated academic associations
IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society
In August 2002 graduated from The University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics, Ship Science,(B. Eng), and in August 2006, joined The University of Southampton, Faculty of Engineering, Science and Mathematics, Underwater Robotics, (Ph.D.). In September 2003, took part in an Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo, Japanese Government (Monbukagakusho: MEXT) Scholarship, Research related to Zero-G type Robot R&D using an internal gyroscope. In September 2006, partook in a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellowship for Research in Japan, Development of visual monitoring system using Zero-G type Robot laser The University of Tokyo, Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. In September 2008, became a Designated Assistant Professor Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo on research related to development of in-situ seabed mobile-sensing technology.
Collaborating researchers
Kiminori Shitashima, International Institute for Carbon Neutral Energy Research, Kyushu University (12CNER), Professor, Tamaki Ura, Institute of Industrial Science, The University of Tokyo University, Masanori Kyo, Group Leader, Group Leader Technology Development Group Center for Deep Earth Exploration, Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, Yuichi Shirasaki, Marine Echo Tech
Research record
  • (1) Blair Thornton, 'Blair, Thornton, Development of Manganese Crust Acoustic Thickness Measuring Technique, Non-Destructive Inspection,. 60, 7, in press, 2011.
  • (2) Blair Thornton and Tamaki Ura, 'Effects of Pressure on the Optical Emissions Observed from Solids Immersed in Water Using a Single Pulse Laser', Appl. Phys. Express 4 (2011) 022702.
  • (3) Blair Thornton, Adrian Bodenmann, Akira Asada, Tamaki Ura, Mehul Sangekar, Katsumi Ohira, Daigo Kirimura, 'Acoustic and visual survey of manganese crusts using an underwater vehicle at #5 Takuyo seamount', Underwater Technology '11, Tokyo, March 2010.
  • (4) Adrian Bodenmann, Blair Thornton and Tamaki Ura, '3D Mapping of the Seafloor in Color Using a Single Camera: Benthic Mapping Based on Video Recordings and Laser Profiling To Generate Colored 3D Reconstructions of the Seafloor.' Sea technology, Vol. 51. No. 12, pp 51-53, 2010.
  • (5) Adrian Bodenmann, Blair Thornton, Mehul Sangekar, Tamaki Ura, Takeshi Nakatani, Takashi Sakamaki: 'Pixel based mapping using a sheet laser and camera for generation of colored 3D seafloor reconstructions', IEEE Oceans'10, Seattle, September 2010.
  • (6) Blair Thornton, Akira Asada, Tamaki Ura, Katsumi Ohira, Daigo Kirimura: 'The development of an acoustic probe to measure the thickness of ferromanganese crusts', IEEE Oceans'10, Sydney, May 2010.