Navigation Links
Invention could make spent nuclear fuel useful for irradiation purposes
Date:4/4/2013

CORVALLIS, Ore. A researcher at Oregon State University has invented a way to use spent nuclear fuel to produce the gamma rays needed to irradiate medical supplies, food and other products an advance that could change what is now a costly waste disposal concern into a valued commodity.

The technology, if widely implemented, might allow each of the 104 nuclear reactors in the United States to create a revenue stream of $10 million a year while providing thousands of new jobs. And by lowering the cost of irradiation, it could become commercially feasible for a wider range of uses.

A provisional patent has been issued on the technology, and commercialization efforts are under way through a private company, G-Demption LLC, created for that purpose.

"This is essentially a way to re-use spent nuclear fuel for a valuable purpose," said Russell Goff, a masters student in the OSU Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics. "Until now no one really thought to do this. But this approach is safe, practical and economical. Instead of treating all nuclear waste as a disposal problem, we could be putting much of it to good use."

Irradiation is a growing industry, and is commonly used in the sterilization of medical supplies such as bandages or syringes. It's also widely approved for helping to preserve foods many spices, and some fruits and meat products are irradiated. The use of gamma radiation for these purposes does not make the underlying product radioactive, and generally has no effects on it that are any more pronounced than other sterilization or preservation technologies.

However, the gamma ray sterilization industry is constrained by the need for cobalt 60, the radioactive isotope most commonly used.

"The U.S. already uses about half of the world's supply of cobalt 60 for various types of irradiation, and the process can be expensive," Goff said. "The new system we've created should be significantly less expensive, and as such could open the technology to more routine uses. We could double the world supply of gamma rays with this new technology and still won't come close to meeting the market demand for this valuable resource."

Sterile medical supplies are a huge market for gamma irradiation, Goff said, and increased used of irradiation could reduce the need for sterilization with ethylene oxide gas, which is a highly toxic and flammable gas.

The system Goff has invented adds another level of protection to prevent unwanted fission products from escaping the spent nuclear fuel and entering the environment, but allows gamma radiation to be released in a controlled manner for irradiation purposes. Because recently spent nuclear fuel less than 12 years old - still has fairly intense levels of radiation, it provides an economical way to irradiate products.

The nuclear waste handling systems needed to use the new technology are similar to those already being used at nuclear power plants, he said, and the process of sterilizing the products is almost identical to processes used in the cobalt 60 irradiation industry today.

Aside from providing a commercial use for spent nuclear fuel, the approach would also reduce the significant expense of otherwise storing it, Goff noted. This system might also have special appeal in developing countries, where refrigeration and other approaches to preserving food, as well as access to sterile medical supplies, are not always readily available.


'/>"/>

Contact: Russell Goff
Russell@G-Demption.com
515-231-0736
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. University of Minnesota invention helps advance reliability of alternative energy
2. 3 Johns Hopkins researchers recognized for medical inventions
3. Invention opens the way to packaging that monitors food freshness
4. Heart-powered pacemaker could one day eliminate battery-replacement surgery
5. New test could help track down and prosecute terrorists
6. New antibiotic could make food safer and cows healthier
7. BPA could affect reproductive capabilities, cause infection of the uterus
8. Key to immune system disease could lie inside the cheek
9. New analysis of premature infants heartbeats, breathing could be cues for leaving NICU
10. Tiny electrical sensors could signal faster MRSA diagnosis
11. Corals could survive a more acidic ocean
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:11/29/2016)... Nearly one billion matches per second with DERMALOG,s high-speed AFIS    ... ... DERMALOG is Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The ... Identification Systems) ... Germany's largest Multi-Biometric supplier: The company's Fingerprint Identification System is part of ...
(Date:11/22/2016)... According to the new market research report "Biometric ... Signature, Voice), Multi-Factor), Component (Hardware and Software), Function (Contact and Non-contact), Application, ... is expected to grow from USD 10.74 Billion in 2015 to reach ... and 2022. Continue Reading ... ...
(Date:11/19/2016)... , Nov. 18, 2016 Securus Technologies, ... solutions for public safety, investigation, corrections and monitoring, announced ... smaller competitor, ICSolutions, to have an independent technology judge ... the most modern high tech/sophisticated telephone calling platform, and ... customers that they do most of what we do ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... , ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... long-term client Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for their ... significant hurdle in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on cloth-based nanosensors. ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... a world leader in rapid infectious disease tests, introduced the Company,s newest product, the ... (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444905 ) Continue Reading ... ... , , bioLytical was invited by the ... INSTI HIV Self Test to 350 pharmacy representatives in Nairobi ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation (BPC), a leading manufacturer ... addition of its newest plasma collection center located at ... The 15,200 square foot state-of-the-art facility officially opened its ... the total number of BPC,s plasma collection centers to ... Chief Executive Officer said "We are pleased to become ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... November 2016   Merck , ein ... Unterzeichnung einer Reihe von Vereinbarungen mit Evotec ... AG Screeningleistungen für Mercks Palette genetischer Reagenzien ... auf diese Bibliotheken in Kombination mit Evotecs ... Weg zur Ermittlung und Erforschung neuer Arzneimitteltargets.    ...
Breaking Biology Technology: