Graphene Can Clean Radioactive Water By Clumping Up Toxins Like Magic

By Eric Limer on at

The wonders of graphene never seem to cease. Desalinisation, flexible semiconductors, and now nuclear waste clean-up. It turns out graphene-oxide is fantastic for clumping up around radioactive waste making it easier to get rid of the stuff.

Research done by scientists at Houston's Rice University and Lomonosov Moscow State University show that flakes of graphene-oxide are amazing at absorbing radioactive waste from water, mostly thanks to their large surface area. It's much better at it than the bentonite clays and activated carbon that's used now, and works well even in the presence of calcium and sodium, which normally complicate matters.

The clumped up material is still radioactive, but graphene-oxide is easily burned, which would allow the clumps to be removed from the water and then essentially melted down into a pure radioactive slag that can be more easily dealt with. The thought is that this technique could be used not only to help clean up after disasters like Fukushima, but also help keep radiation discovered during fracking at bay. Someone go put another tally in graphene's "win" column. [gizmag]

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