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Graphene could be used to clean up nuclear waste

Graphene could be used to help detoxify nuclear waste

Latest experiments shows that it can act as a “super sieve”, able to separate different atomic isotopes of hydrogen and act as a subatomic filter.
The Manchester researchers showed that graphene can act as a simple filter by slowing down the movement of deuterium through a membrane made of graphene and its sister material, boron nitride. While ordinary hydrogen atoms passed straight through the sieve, deuterium was effectively blocked.
Application of recent discoveries
⦁ It could separate particles smaller than an atom using a membrane at room temperature.
⦁ It could filter the different atomic isotopes of hydrogen, namely tritium and deuterium, from ordinary hydrogen.
⦁ It could also be used to clean up nuclear waste contaminated with radioactive tritium.
⦁ It could revolutionise the production of the heavy water that is composed of a rare form of hydrogen called deuterium, which is expensive to manufacture and purify with existing technology. Increasing the concentration of deuterium to make the heavy water used as a special coolant in nuclear power plants is energy intensive and expensive.
⦁ Its potential industrial applications range from highly flexible electronics that could be worn in clothes or used in fold-up pocket devices, to a new generation of super-fast computers and hyper-efficient solar panels.
⦁ Two way benefit for nuclear energy
1. Graphene could efficiently remove Tritium, a waste product in many nuclear reactions that needs to be safely removed from the environment.
2. Graphene could help to produce heavy water cheaply, that is needed in nuclear power plants to contain the reactions at the core.

GRAPHENE

⦁ Graphene is a crystalline allotrope of carbon in the form of a two-dimensional, atomic-scale, hexagonal lattice in which one atom forms each vertex.
⦁ It is the basic structural element of other allotropes, including graphite, charcoal, carbon nanotubes and fullerenes.
⦁ It was discovered by Nobel laureates and professors Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, at Manchester University in 2004.
⦁ Properties of Graphene
1. It is about 100 times stronger than strongest steel with hypothetical thickness of 3.35Å which is equal to the thickness of graphene sheet.
2. It is the strongest substance known to science.
3. It conducts heat and electricity efficiently and
4. It is nearly transparent.

Deuterium

⦁ Is one of the stable isotope of Hydrogen with atomic mass of 2 and contains one proton and one neutron
⦁ Its presence in nature is almost negligible. For every 6,420 hydrogen atoms, there is just one atom of deuterium.
⦁ It accounts for approximately 0.0156% (or on a mass basis 0.0312%) of all the naturally occurring hydrogen in the oceans, while the most common isotope (hydrogen-1 or protium) accounts for more than 99.98%.

Tritium

⦁ Is a radioactive isotope of Hydrogen
⦁ It has atomic mass of 3 and contains one proton and 2 neutron
⦁ Naturally occurring tritium is extremely rare on Earth, where trace amounts are formed by the interaction of the atmosphere with cosmic rays.
⦁ It is produced
1. In Nuclear reactors by NEUTRON ACTIVATION of Lithium-6.
2. In Heavy Water -Moderator Reactor where a deuterium nucleus captures a neutron.
3. Due to Helium decay
4. Occurs naturally due to cosmic rays interacting with atmospheric gases

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