Innovation That Matters

New cement could half the impact of nuclear radiation


Researchers at Diamond Light Source have developed a new cement containing sets of minerals that could improve nuclear waste disposal.

In the UK, there are 350,000 meters cubed of cemented radioactive waste, which will be radioactive for over 100,000 years, and businesses are coming up with novel ways to deal with the issue. Researchers at Diamond Light Source say they have developed a new cement-like material that could be 50 percent better at reducing the impact of radiation from nuclear waste left over from power plants.

The cement material contains minerals that are known to be highly absorbent of radioactive waste, elements such as technetium-99. Diamond’s Dr Claire Corkhill said the material had been developed using x-ray analysis during the two-year experiment to study the reactions. Diamond Light Source is a centre for renewable energy and energy recycling research.

The UK is set to build several nuclear power stations, such as Hinkley C, over the next few decades, and additional, safe, storage for the waste generated could be key to continuing the decarbonizing process of the energy sector.

We have already seen floating wind farms helping to produce more clean energy, and drones deployed to look for leaks at fracking sites. How else could new experimental technologies be used to clean up our energy production?



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