. Earth Science News .

Butterfly molecule may aid quest for nuclear clean-up technology
by Staff Writers
Edinburgh UK (SPX) Mar 15, 2012

File image courtesy AFP.

Scientists have produced a previously unseen uranium molecule, in a development that could help improve clean-up processes for nuclear waste. The distinctive butterfly-shaped compound is similar to radioactive molecules that scientists had proposed to be key components of nuclear waste, but were thought too unstable to exist for long.

Researchers have shown the compound to be robust, which implies that molecules with a similar structure may be present in radioactive waste.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh, who carried out the study, say this suggests the molecule may play a role in forming clusters of radioactive material in waste that are difficult to separate during clean-up.

Improving treatment processes for nuclear waste, including targeting this type of molecule, could help the nuclear industry move towards cleaner power generation, in which all the radioactive materials from spent fuel can be recovered and made safe or used again. This would reduce the amount of waste and curb risks to the environment.

The Edinburgh team worked in collaboration with scientists in the US and Canada to verify the structure of the uranium compound. They made the molecule by reacting a common uranium compound with a nitrogen and carbon-based material. Scientists used chemical and mathematical analyses to confirm the structure of the molecule's distinctive butterfly shape.

The study, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the EaStCHEM partnership and the University of Edinburgh, was published in Nature Chemistry.

Professor Polly Arnold of the University of Edinburgh's School of Chemistry, who took part in the research, said: "We have made a molecule that, in theory, should not exist, because its bridge-shaped structure suggests it would quickly react with other chemicals. This discovery that this particular form of uranium is so stable could help optimise processes to recycle valuable radioactive materials and so help manage the UK's nuclear legacy."

Related Links
University of Edinburgh
Bringing Order To A World Of Disasters
A world of storm and tempest
When the Earth Quakes

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Japan's nuclear disaster: a timeline
Tokyo (AFP) March 11, 2012
As Japan marks the first anniversary of the quake-tsunami that triggered meltdowns at the Fukushima nuclear plant, here are key developments in the worst atomic accident since Chernobyl in 1986. - March 11, 2011: A 9.0-magnitude earthquake, the world's fourth-largest since 1900, strikes off Japan's northeast coast, causing a massive tsunami that destroys entire towns and villages along the P ... read more

Butterfly molecule may aid quest for nuclear clean-up technology

Japan's nuclear disaster: a timeline

Japan strives to win back tourists

Meltdown intel emerges ahead of Japan anniversary

Apple looks to tighten tablet market grip with new iPad

AU Optronics to appeal US price-fixing verdict

PayPal lets shops take payments on smartphones

Russia to build space warning system

China to invest in water projects

The Blue Planet's new water budget

Mauritius, Seychelles to jointly manage Indian Ocean shelf

Oceans Acidifying Faster today Than in Past 300 Million Years

China to conduct Arctic expedition

S. Korean, Russian scientists bid to clone mammoth

NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster

Greenland icesheet more vulnerable than thought to warming

Commonly used herbicides seen as threat to endangered butterflies

Auchan supermarkets reports profit rise on action in China

Myanmar soldiers shot dead China farmer: Beijing

World breakthrough on salt-tolerant wheat

Tropical Storm Irina kills three in Mozambique:official

Greek volcanic island shows activity

Small tsunami hits Japan after 6.9 quake

Effects of flooding on Cairo

Algeria conflict shapes US military strategy

Ethiopia says it has attacked Eritrean military base

G.Bissau security forces vote in presidential poll

Bloodhounds deployed to fight elephant poaching in DR Congo

Strong scientific evidence that eating berries benefits the brain

What have we got in common with a gorilla?

Knowledge gap widens gulf between South Asian nations

Human-like fossils in China caves puzzle scientists

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement