Since the day atomic concept has come to light, engineers and technicians have been wondering about management of nuclear waste. On one hand, nuclear waste happens to be a highly toxic substance that needs to be recycled. It can be recycled for several industrial purposes. With the same purpose in mind, a team of researchers from University of Bristol recently came up with a method for safe disposal of nuclear waste that can help in healthy transformation of waste into valuable energy source.
The team of physicists and engineers from University of Bristol’s Cabot Institute recently came up with a man-made diamond that is capable of generating power whenever it is subjected to radioactive electric. Tom Scott from Cabot Institute says, “There are no moving parts involved [in the diamond generator], no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation. By encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds, we turn a long-term problem of nuclear waste into a nuclear-powered battery and a long-term supply of clean energy.”
One of the biggest motivational factors behind this research is the rapidly increasing amount of nuclear waste that is getting accumulated across various corners of this planet. As nuclear plants go off-grid, the carbon-14 rich graphite blocks that are normally used for administering the fission reactions needs to be disposed with utmost carefulness. While there is a way to get rid of them by simple burying these into cement casings, the solution is not considered as an environmental friendly one.
As Neil Fox from University of Bristol’s chemistry school says, “Carbon-14 was chosen as a source material because it emits a short-range radiation, which is quickly absorbed by any solid material. This would make it dangerous to ingest or touch with your naked skin, but safely held within diamond, no short-range radiation can escape. In fact, diamond is the hardest substance known to man, there is literally nothing we could use that could offer more protection.” The diamond generator used by researchers generates very less amount of power; 1 gram of encased Carbon-14 is potent enough to generate 15 joules of electricity every single day.
Filed Under: News