Research into radioactively contaminated material to gain further understanding around the issue has been conducted by a group of scientists from The University of Manchester, the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL) and the UK’s synchrotron science facility, Diamond Light Source, which is crucial for the safe and more efficient completion of future decommissioning projects.
Safely decommissioning the legacy of radioactively contaminated facilities from nuclear energy and weapons production is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century. Current estimates suggest clean-up of the UK’s nuclear legacy will cost around £117bn and take decades to complete.
The team identified a concrete core taken from the structure of a nuclear fuel cooling pond contaminated with radioactive isotopes of caesium and strontium, located at the former Hunterston A, Magnox nuclear power station in Ayrshire. The core, which was coated and painted, was taken to the Diamond synchrotron for further analysis.
Strontium is a high yield nuclear fission product in nuclear reactors and tests showed that it was bonded to the titanium oxide found in the white pigment of the paint on the concrete core’s coating.
By identifying the specific location of the radioactive isotopes, the research makes future investigation easier and could potentially leads to more efficient decontamination, saving millions of pounds by reducing the volume of our radioactive waste.
The work also found that the painted and rubberised under layers were intact and the paint had acted as a sealant for 60 years. However, experiments were conducted to examine what would happen if the contaminated pond water had breached the coating. It showed that the strontium would be bound strongly to the materials in the cement but the caesium was absorbed by clays and iron oxides forming part of the rock fragments in the concrete.
This work shows the power of the techniques available at the Diamond synchrotron to meet the challenge of cleaning up our nuclear legacy
Professor Richard Pattrick, leading the project from The University of Manchester’s Dalton Nuclear Institute stated: “This work shows the power of the techniques available at the Diamond synchrotron to meet the challenge of cleaning up our nuclear legacy and the University is working very closely with Diamond to develop facilities to support research across the whole of the nuclear industry”
Professor Anthony Banford, Chief Technologist for Waste Management and Decommissioning at NNL, commented: “This research project has demonstrated that collaboration with academia, industry and Diamond scientists, utilising the national scientific infrastructure delivers high quality research with industrial relevance and impact.”
Professor Andrew Harrison, CEO of Diamond Light Source said: “Diamond is very pleased to have facilitated this decommissioning-related research and one major component of our future development plans is to help the UK address the complex and varied challenges of the nuclear industry.”
The work is published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials – Citation: W R Bower, K Morris, J F W Mosselmans, O RThompson, A W Banford, K Law, R A D Pattrick. 2016. Characterising legacy spent nuclear fuel pond materials using microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 317, 97-107
Like our Facebook Page
How to Find an Eco-Friendly Termite Control Service Provider in Malaysia
Eco-Friendly Vegans Win Most Battles Not the War
3 Iconic Chicago Billboards Eco-Friendly Advertisers Can Learn from
EnviroSolar’s Abe Issa Discusses Success in Green Entrepreneurship
How Sports Could Be Impacted by Climate Change
What Eco-Friendly Patients Should Know about Online Therapy
6 Reasons Why Meal Delivery Services are Eco-Friendly
The Path for Retail’s Sustainable Future
4 Eco-Friendly Ways to Treat a Sinus Infection
4 Strategies for Eco-Friendly Real Estate Investors to Find Properties
How Managed Print Services Helps to Reduce Paper Waste
Why Scientists Are Concerned About ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Drinking Water
Meat Farming Is Only Getting Smarter, Easier & Eco-Friendlier
What is Eco-Friendly Homesteading and How Does it Affect Your Insurance?
Importance of Using a Water Purifier in an Area with High Pollution
Alternative Financing Ideas for Green Businesses that Shun Banks
Tencel Material Demand Shows Britain Is More Eco-Friendlier Than Ireland
How To Invest in Clean Energy Stocks in Only Five Easy Steps!
How To Secure Funding As An Eco-Entrepreneur?
4 Amazing Eco-Friendly Businesses Worth Starting in 2021
- Features8 months ago
Seven Health and Safety Tips for Eco-Friendly Products in a Green Home
- Energy9 months ago
Eco-Friendly Homeowners Lower Carbon Footprints through Greater Air Conditioner Efficiency
- Features8 months ago
Essential Guidelines for Eco-friendly Moving into new Home
- Invest10 months ago
The Eco-Friendly Evolution of Bitcoin Over the Years