Graphene oxide eases the task of nuclear clean-up

radioactive materials

The wonder material graphene never ceases to amaze us. From its use in producing affordable solar cells to organic light emitting electrochemical cells, it has proved that its use can help build a greener world. Latest in the green uses of graphene comes from a research team at Rice University, who along with Lomonosov Moscow State University have figured out that graphene oxide can do wonders in cleaning radioactive waste.

The scientists say that when flakes of graphene oxide are added to water polluted with nuclear waste, it causes the radionuclides to condense into lumps, making it far easier to clean. At present, bentonite clays and activated carbon are used for the same thing, but the large surface are of graphene oxide crystals makes the process more effective and the clumping action occurs within a few minutes.

Gizmag notes that the clumped material is definitely still radioactive, but you can simply skim it off and burn it as graphene oxide burns rapidly and leaves a cake of radioactive material behind, which can either be reused or disposed of accordingly.

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