Finally! Nuclear Waste Clearing Material DiscoveredBy Leah NY, UniversityHerald Reporter
Finally, scientists in Switzerland discovered a way to effectively clear out nuclear plants' radioactive wastes.
A group of scientists from Polytechnique FÃ©dÃ©rale de Lausanne together with their American colleagues reported the discovery of a material abbreviated as SBMOF-1, a nanoporous crystal belonging to the group of materials used in cleaning out CO2 and dangerous pollutant emissions.
As global warming is becoming a bigger problem worldwide, and alternative to carbon-based fossil fuels with a much cheaper maintenance value will be a great leap. Yet, nuclear energy which is known to be the cheapest alternative to carbon poses a dangerous and expensive waste gas generation,EScience. reported.
Krypton and xenon are the two types nuclear waste gases emitted during reprocessing of the nuclear fuel. These two elements are escapes as by-products in the off-gas of the facility used in reprocessing.
The only way to clear out these waste elements is through a cryogenic method and distillation wherein the elements are brought to a temperature far lower than water freezing point. This process however is may cause the risk of explosion and is known to be expensive.
That is why scientists from Switzerland conducted a study to find a solution to this problem. They studied 125,000 MOF's to find an eliminating tool to clear nuclear waste. SBMOF-1 stood out having the pore size closest to that of xenon atom. This element contains the needed characteristics to separate krypton and xenon from other elements without having to use the cryogenic method.
They also tested the element under different temperature conditions. Humidity is a big hindrance with the cryogenic method to clear out nuclear waste gases. They were surprised to find that SBMOF-1 displayed the same performance both in dry and in humid conditions.
The last test they conducted was the repeated use of SBMOF-1 to clear out the xenon and the krypton, vacuuming the elements for safe storage. The element displayed a high degree of stability assuring its long-term performance, M.Phys Org reported.