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Glass and Ceramic Offer Potential for Safer Nuclear Waste Disposal

Safer Nuclear Waste DisposalThe greenhouse gasses emitted by nuclear power plants are small in comparison to energy production from fossil fuels.  In 2015 alone, the utilization of nuclear energy facilities helped keep 564 million metric tons of greenhouse gas out of the atmosphere.  While nuclear power plants have a relatively small carbon footprint, finding a secure and eco-friendly way to dispose of nuclear waste has been a persistent challenge.

According to Rutgers University researcher, Ashutosh Goel, a solution may be on the horizon.  Goel anticipates that by the 2022, his research will lead to a safe method for disposing of radioactive waste by immobilizing the hazardous molecules within glass and ceramic compounds.

Glass represents the perfect solution for the challenges affiliated with nuclear energy production, argues Goel, because of its chemical durability.  The chemical makeup of these compounds is critical because of the complex makeup of nuclear waste.  In addition, Goel’s process for immobilizing nuclear waste can be undertaken in room-temperature conditions.  Because of the volatility of nuclear waste, using glass and ceramic will make the process of immobilization much safer. 

And because of the durability of glass and ceramic, it is ideal for containing radioactive particles that, if left unchecked, could enter the ecosystem and remain there for millions of years.

If Goel’s vision for his glass and ceramic compounds succeeds, mass-production will enable governments to rapidly begin changing their processes for securing and disposing of nuclear waste. 

Read the full story here

To see other examples of how energy creation continues to become more environmentally friendly, check out ConEdison Solution’s green energy systems here

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