A new innovation from Professor Huai-Yong Zhu at Queensland’s University of Technology can clean up all the water contaminated by radioactive materials. The material Zhu made is based on nanofibers and nanotubes, and uses an approach that had never been tested before.
Titanate nanofiber and nanotubes are the materials he uses, to be more exact. Zhu says that only one gram of his nanofibers can clean at least a ton of contaminated water.
“This saves large amounts of dangerous water needing to be stored somewhere and also prevents the risk of contaminated products leaking into the soil,” he says.
Zhu’s technology captures radioactive Cesium ions by passing the contaminated water through the fibers and nanotubes. The technology, developed in a partnership with the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation and Penn State University, can also be used in mines or anywhere there’s an accident with repercussions such as the one from Fukushima.
It is a sad truth that each year, more people die in mining accidents than in nuclear-related activities. It is nevertheless important to keep nuclear power as safe as possible both by preventing accidents to happen and by having countermeasures in case they do.
This is one of the few innovations that make the thought of having nuclear plants powering your country a more bearable one.