Thursday, January 16, 2014

Improving Zeolites for Radioactive Contamination Cleanup - e.g. Fukushima.

My recent publication with colleagues in Armenia, for improving natural zeolites for getting the radiation levels down from wastewaters from nuclear power plants - and potentially other environmental decontamination strategies. Zeolites have been employed in post-event cleanup strategies, e.g. at Chernobyl and Fukushima, and so the method might prove useful in activating natural zeolites for applications of this kind too.

There have been comparatively few investigations reported of radiation effects in zeolites, although it is known that these materials may be modified substantially by exposure to ionizing radiation. Thus, by exposure to -rays or high-energy particles, the charge states of atoms may be changed so to create, and accumulate, lattice point defects, and to form structurally disordered regions. Such a technique may permit the creation, in a controlled fashion, of additionally useful properties of the material while preserving its essential stoichiometry and structure. Accordingly, we present an application, in which the cation-exchange capacity of a natural zeolite (clinoptilolite) is substantially enhanced, for the treatment/decontamination of water contaminated with radionuclides e.g.134Cs,137Cs and 90Sr, by its exposure to high-energy (8 MeV) electrons, and to different total doses.

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