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New Discovery Makes It Easier to Remove Radioactive Elements From Nuclear Waste via Futurism

IN BRIEF

Researchers have developed a new chemical principle to improve the engineering of molecules designed to remove specific elements from solutions. This principle could be used for such applications as removing radioactive materials from nuclear waste or chemical pollutants from soil.

Researchers from Indiana University (IU) have developed a new chemical principlethat could have a major impact on the way we store nuclear waste by improving our ability to predict how engineered molecules will behave once they’re put into practice. The details of this study were published today in CHEM.

Chemists are already able to engineer molecules designed for the purpose of extracting other types of molecules, such as radioactive elements and chemical pollutants, from solutions. These “receptor molecules” consist of atoms arranged in a specific shape that leaves room for the target to attach itself and break away from its host.

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SAFE STORAGE

As primary researcher Yun Liu noted in a press release, “The current paradigm only works for molecular designs on the drawing board, in theory, but we want to make molecules that will work in practice to help solve problems in the real world.”

Truly, receptor molecules have almost innumerable real-world applications. They can be used to remove chloride from salt water as part of the desalination process, chemical pollutants from soil, or lithium ions from water for use in renewable energy systems.

Perhaps most significantly, they can be engineered to remove radioactive elements from nuclear waste.

Read more at New Discovery Makes It Easier to Remove Radioactive Elements From Nuclear Waste

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