New radioactive waste purification technology successful in Northwest Russia
2 Sep '13
St. Petersburg and Kola Peninsula scientists have successfully completed an experiment in the Murmansk region, in Northwest Russia, aimed at removing liquid radioactive waste with their artificially synthesized adsorbent, B-port reported.
The Ostrovnoy Closed Administrative Territory (ZATO)—a restricted area controlled by Rosatom, Russia’s largest umbrella for nuclear energy companies—was specifically chosen for the experiment, the scientists said. A huge amount of spent nuclear submarine fuel and other nuclear waste has piled up here for long years. The deadly deposits cannot be safely transported to other Russian regions. The experiment, which started in July, was aimed at eliminating the problem right on the spot.
According to Sergei Krivovichev, the head of the crystallography chair at St. Petersburg State University (SPbSU), the minerals found on the Kola Peninsula in Northwest Russia and used to synthesize the new adsorbent, possess “very interesting properties of imbibing harmful radionuclides such as cesium and strontium.” Sergei Britvin from SPbSU’s Diffractometry Center added that the new material is capable of “adsorbing more than 50 Mendeleev periodic table elements simultaneously.”
Radioactive waste contains as many as 25 hazardous elements. So, the new adsorbent is expected to vanquish all at once.
One ton of the adsorbent is reported to be able to render harmless 1.5 tons of highly detrimental liquid radioactive waste. The cost of producing the ton of raw material is up to $50,000, the researchers estimate.