Diamonds are forever. Imagine, how powerful the batteries will be that have diamonds in them. However, the extraction of these precious stones is difficult. This is because of two major reasons. One, they are available in the depths of the earth. Second, they need immense heat and pressure to come into existence. Moreover, these stones take millions of years to formulate and get to their purest form.
However, scientists from the University of Bristol believe that nuclear waste from the reactors can be an optimum source of power generation. According to Professor Tom Scott, instead of storing nuclear waste and endangering the environment, it must be recycled for further use.
How Can Nuclear Waste Become Helpful?
To control the fission reaction, nuclear reactors use massive graphite rods. These rods absorb the neutrons and slow down the fission reaction in the core. However, the graphite rods, post the absorption produces carbon 14 isotopes. These isotopes are radioactive and can come in handy for further power generation. As per the researchers, the carbon 14 isotopes when used with a special diamond, can produce an effective battery that can power the nuclear powerplant.
At present, the isotopes have their storage in special concrete chambers that are at least 8 to 10 meters deep from the surface. Nevertheless, the halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 years. That means, it shall take nearly this many years for the isotopes to reduce its mass to half. However, scientists believe that the energy produced from these isotopes can come in handy for power generation. And, looking at the immense life-span of the isotopes, they can fulfill their purpose near to infinite period.
The concept is the part of ASPIRE project. ASPIRE stands for Advanced Self-Powered sensor units in Intense Radiation Environments. The project can put an halt to the pursuit of clean and massive power sources that can help countries overcome the energy crisis in future.