PLUTONIUM - could affect nuclear waste storage

PLUTONIUM - could affect nuclear waste storage

Postby Oscar » Sun Mar 15, 2020 1:10 pm

Surprisingly stable plutonium compound could affect nuclear waste storage

[ https://physicsworld.com/a/surprisingly ... e-storage/ ]

October 31, 2019

By accident, scientists in Germany, Russia and Sweden have discovered a compound containing a chemically-stable form of plutonium that has never been observed before. In a series of attempts to synthesize plutonium-containing nanoparticles, the team led by Kristina Kvashnina at the Helmholtz Centre Dresden-Rossendorf found that a compound containing the element in its fifth oxidation state can exist for long periods of time. Their discovery could provide new and crucial information that could help scientists predict the changing properties of harmful nuclear waste over millions of years.

Even when the plutonium waste produced by nuclear power plants is securely stored deep underground, it can eventually leak out into the surrounding environment. This happens when waste interacts with materials in the ground including clay and mineral ores to form suspended liquid mixtures. However, researchers studying the effect now understand that its damage is lessened by reactions that form stable plutonium compounds.

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