The surprising discovery of a Graphene Membrane that filters Nuclear Waste

A recent research carried out at the University of Manchester in the UK has revealed that the nuclear waste produced from nuclear energy has continued to be a threat to thousands of people over the years. Hence, the future of generations is threatened.

However, even with the apparent dangers, researchers led by Andre Geim have indicated that the waste can still be used positively and especially after the discovery of membranes made from graphene. The new study demonstrates that the membranes sheets can easily distinguish nuclei of hydrogen from denser nuclei of hydrogen isotope deuterium while at the same time shift the radioactive isotope tritium out of nuclear wastewater.

The new graphene membrane will handle all this quickly and efficiently which in return simplifies and prompts the rapid production of dark water enormously. It has very high separation efficiency.

Reports have it that the current techniques of heavy water production are way too expensive and require a more intensive technology that could also pose a significant scientific and industrial problem. However, with the latest technological developments, it will be possible to scale up things to technical levels.

But how is this event of importance? Well, the so-called dark water has one essential component referred to as deuterium. It is this dark water that facilitates the running of nuclear power plant operations hence it is required in large quantities.

On the other hand tritium that is another hydrogen, isotope has a high presence in nuclear wastewater. It is produced during the electricity generation process mainly at nuclear power plants as a by-product. And being a by-product the chances are that it is quickly leaked into the environment and automatically becomes destructive to living organisms, including humans.

However and as earlier indicated the use of the new graphene membrane helps in filtering out the by-product from nuclear wastewater.

Apparently and according to the authors of this study, it is the first time that the membrane can separate subatomic particles at room temperature. Hence, the developments are viable and practical.

About the author

Nitin Agarwal

Nitin started PC-Tablet because of his keen interest in space research, technology, and gadgets. He is an avid reader, technology enthusiast, and like to explore new places. His passion for knowledge keeps him running all the time.