The purest of energy comes from one of the most basic yet most devastating sources -The Nuclear Fission. The process is used in nuclear power plants and can generate megatonnes of clean and pure energy. However, the process leads to the development of Depleted Uranium. This byproduct is highly radioactive and can cause serious damage to the person who comes in contact. Hence, to date, this waste reaches expensive facilities to avoid the leakage of radiation. Well not anymore! A team of chemists has come up with the technique that can covert nuclear waste into a highly useful product without any fear.
As per the scientists, with proper synthesis of the DU, it can be used in several applications. Moreover, these applications can develop new and more useful products in the future.
How Did Chemists Develop the Applications for DU?
The team of researchers from University of Sussex comprising Dr. Nikolaos Tsoureas, Professor Geoff Cloke, and Professor Richard Layfield developed a catalyst using DU. This catalyst can convert ethylene to ethane. This conversion from alkene to alkane is nothing new. However, able to accomplish this using a catalyst using nuclear waste is the key highlight. Moreover, using this catalyst there are possibilities that new hydrogenated oils and other hydrocarbons can appear in the future. However, the best part of this development is that it removes the burden from nuclear power plants of storing DU in expensive facilities.
As per Prof Cloke, the reason that no one was able to use DU like that was that no one thought of using it like that. Majorly, the restriction was the fear of radioactivity. However, using pentalene with DU can remarkably reduce the risk of radiation. Moreover, the future applications of converting other waste materials into fuels using DU is also a major reason that researchers are banking on this development.