By using aluminium and magnesium-rich minerals, the researchers claim to be able to clean-up all contaminants at once, without having to implement numerous and highly expensive techniques.
Handling the toxic waste from Fukushima has been one of the highly discussed topic over the past few months. Various companies and experts have proposed techniques and provided valuable advice, however it seems no one knows exactly how to cope with a disaster of such extent. Polluted water still flows in the basement of the building, and no strategy has been successful enough to prevent from leaking or clean-up the nuclear waste.
A new technique promises to have much larger success. Having been tested and applied successfully on waste waters from a toxic mine in Queensland, Australia, the inventor, Grant Douglas sees no reason why the technology should not work in Fukushima.
The method is quite simple. Hydrotalcites, minerals that have layers of aluminium and magnesium, separated by negatively charged interlayers of sulfate ions, convert pollutants into solids. What is more, unlike lime, which is commonly used in such approaches, hydrotalcites do not produce huge amounts of sludge in the process of decontamination. This is because metals found in the waste water simply replace the aluminium and magnesium and get trapped in the layers of the minerals.
The result is a solid rock and clean water, which can harmlessly be released in the environment. According to Douglas, the technique cannot remove only the salt content, however the water is as clean as rainwater. Douglas also claims that the ore that is produced can later on be re-mined and could even result in profit.