Let Them Eat Waste
“Let Them Eat Waste: The Microbes Helping to Clean Up Fukushima”
Article by Zaria Gorvett. June 2015.
- Japan has to find long-term storage for 20,000 tons of nuclear waste.
- 300 tons of radioactive material leaks into groundwater every day.
- The waste generated by nuclear power stations is a potent blend of radioactive uranium and its byproducts: Strontium-90, Iodine-131 and Cesium-137.
- Radioactive elements eventually shed their extra neutrons over time, one by one until they turn into something more stable. This decay takes between 300 (cesium-137) and 100,000 (uranium) years.
- Shiraiwa and colleagues have found algae which can remove an array of radioactive waste products, including a species new to science: a unicellular algal strain known as nak9.