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article imageRussian scientists discover radiation- absorbing mineral

By Chris V. Thangham     Sep 7, 2007 in Environment
Russian scientists have discovered a nuclear radiation absorbing mineral in the Khibinsky Mountains in the Arctic Circle. They claim it can absorb radioactivity from liquid nuclear waste, making it safe to handle afterwards.
Yakov Pakhomovsky, the head of the Kolsky Research Institute, claim this new mineral named 27-4 can absorb radioactivity from the liquid nuclear waste. If this material is approved, then the newly discovered material will be of immense use to dispose of the nuclear waste.
When the radioactive water comes in contact with the mineral, the water becomes safe. If this mineral had been available just after the Chernobyl or Three Mile Island disasters, they say the consequences would have been different because both accidents resulted in contamination from radioactive water.
The principle is simple but they need tons of this new material to absorb the radioactivity in the nuclear waste. So, far the Russians have discovered only a few grams; however they are confident they can reproduce this synthetically on a large scale.
The Kolsky Peninsula is a hot area for newly discovered minerals; more than one third of all new mineral discoveries are made there.
If the Russian claims are proven, then this will become a significant discovery for the nuclear industry, which has problems disposing nuclear waste. But they have to prove more whether the new mineral will absorb the radiation or just the radio activity material or both. They also have to show how they can reproduce this material on a large scale.
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