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New 'Smart' Polymer Reduces Radioactive Waste At Nuclear Power Plants

Date:
May 15, 2009
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
Scientists have developed a new polymer that reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors. 

Researchers have created a "smart" polymer that could decrease radioactive waste at nuclear power plants.
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Scientists in Germany and India are reporting development of a new polymer that reduces the amount of radioactive waste produced during routine operation of nuclear reactors. 

Börje Sellergren and colleagues note that structural materials such as carbon steel in power plants' water cooling systems form deposits of metal oxides when they interact with coolants. In nuclear power plants, these oxides trap radioactive ions, leading to buildups of radioactivity that require costly cleanups of reactor surfaces.

Cobalt, present in some alloys used in the reactors' water systems, is a major contributor toward this problem because of its long half-life.

In the study, the researchers created an adsorbent material that — unlike conventional ion-exchange resins that are frequently used in reactors — is selective for cobalt but has the unique ability of disregarding iron-based ions. The polymer's high selectivity increases its appeal, the researchers add, for use in decontamination processes in reactors that utilize a variety of structural materials.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bhaskarapillai et al. Synthesis and Characterization of Imprinted Polymers for Radioactive Waste Reduction. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2009; 48 (8): 3730 DOI: 10.1021/ie801640b

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "New 'Smart' Polymer Reduces Radioactive Waste At Nuclear Power Plants." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511090842.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2009, May 15). New 'Smart' Polymer Reduces Radioactive Waste At Nuclear Power Plants. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511090842.htm
American Chemical Society. "New 'Smart' Polymer Reduces Radioactive Waste At Nuclear Power Plants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/05/090511090842.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

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