Nav: Home

A new method to help solve the problem of nuclear waste

October 27, 2016

In the last decades, nanomaterials have gained broad scientific and technological interest due to their unusual properties compared to micrometre-sized materials. At this scale, matter shows properties governed by size. At the present time, nanomaterials are studied to be employed in many different fields, including the nuclear one. Thus, nuclear fuels production, structural materials, separation techniques and waste management, all may benefit from an excellent knowledge in the nano-nuclear technology. No wonder researchers are on the constant lookout for better ways to improve their production.

Scientists from Joint Research Center have come up with a way to do just that. Olaf Walter, Karin Popa and Oliver Dieste Blanco, have devised a simple access to produce highly crystalline, reactive actinide oxide nanocrystals. The shape of the crystals, together with their increased reactivity, enables the consolidation of homogeneous nanostructured mixed oxides as intermediates towards very dense nuclear fuels for advanced reactors. Moreover, such materials can be used as precursors for the production of compounds with special properties, which mimic structures those are found in spent nuclear fuel, and will also be of great use in the study of how such radioactive material migrates in nearby geological environments.

This new process could enable scientists further research on the properties of these types of materials. Surprisingly, this new route proved uncomplicated, fast, and reproducible. It contains fewer procedural steps than typical oxalate precipitation-decomposition processes, allowing for production using a single vessel and under continuous flow.

The article, published recently in Open Chemistry may lead to the development of a process to remove uranium from wastewater at the front-end of the nuclear fuel cycle, or even extracting natural uranium from sea water.

This process could help scientists and governments comply with the European Council Directive 2011/70/EURATOM on the "responsible and safe management of spent fuel and radioactive waste" which requires EU Member States to establish a dedicated policy, including the implementation of national programmes for the management of spent fuel and radioactive waste.

This also may help make the future brighter for nuclear, as a carbon-free energy source.
-end-
The original article is available fully in open access in Open Chemistry on De Gruyter Online.

De Gruyter Open

Related Nuclear Articles:

Unused stockpiles of nuclear waste could be more useful than we might think
Chemists have found a new use for the waste product of nuclear power -- transforming an unused stockpile into a versatile compound which could be used to create valuable commodity chemicals as well as new energy sources.
Six degrees of nuclear separation
For the first time, Argonne scientists have printed 3D parts that pave the way to recycling up to 97 percent of the waste produced by nuclear reactors.
How to dismantle a nuclear bomb
MIT team successfully tests a new method for verification of weapons reduction.
Material for nuclear reactors to become harder
Scientists from NUST MISIS developed a unique composite material that can be used in harsh temperature conditions, such as those in nuclear reactors.
Nuclear physics -- probing a nuclear clock transition
Physicists have measured the energy associated with the decay of a metastable state of the thorium-229 nucleus.
Milestones on the way to the nuclear clock
For decades, people have been searching for suitable atomic nuclei for building an ultra-precise nuclear clock.
Nuclear winter would threaten nearly everyone on Earth
If the United States and Russia waged an all-out nuclear war, much of the land in the Northern Hemisphere would be below freezing in the summertime, with the growing season slashed by nearly 90 percent in some areas, according to a Rutgers-led study.
The vanishing nuclear industry
Could nuclear power make a significant contribution to decarbonizing the US energy system over the next three or four decades?
Balancing nuclear and renewable energy
Argonne researchers explore the benefits of adjusting the output of nuclear power plants according to the changing supply of renewable energy such as wind and solar power.
En route to the optical nuclear clock
Together with colleagues from Munich and Mainz, researchers at the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) have performed the first-ever optical measurements of some important properties of the low-energy state of the Th-229 nucleus.
More Nuclear News and Nuclear Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Clint Smith
The killing of George Floyd by a police officer has sparked massive protests nationwide. This hour, writer and scholar Clint Smith reflects on this moment, through conversation, letters, and poetry.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#562 Superbug to Bedside
By now we're all good and scared about antibiotic resistance, one of the many things coming to get us all. But there's good news, sort of. News antibiotics are coming out! How do they get tested? What does that kind of a trial look like and how does it happen? Host Bethany Brookeshire talks with Matt McCarthy, author of "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic", about the ins and outs of testing a new antibiotic in the hospital.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 6: Strange Times
Covid has disrupted the most basic routines of our days and nights. But in the middle of a conversation about how to fight the virus, we find a place impervious to the stalled plans and frenetic demands of the outside world. It's a very different kind of front line, where urgent work means moving slow, and time is marked out in tiny pre-planned steps. Then, on a walk through the woods, we consider how the tempo of our lives affects our minds and discover how the beats of biology shape our bodies. This episode was produced with help from Molly Webster and Tracie Hunte. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.