These new plants will use recycled nuclear waste

The Aurora reactor uses recycled nuclear waste, offering a second life to the uranium that traditional plants have already consumed.

In times when carbon dioxide emissions have become a pressing environmental problem, there are those who turn their eyes to nuclear power plants. They are not a sustainable solution for the future, it is widely accepted, but they do not contribute to the emission of gases. At least in this they outperform fossil fuels.

The big problem with nuclear power plants, however, is waste. In many cases it is material that maintains radioactivity over long periods. This implies that the waste must be stored in specific places, in isolation. Nuclear cemeteries are sites where large amounts of waste from power plants are concentrated.

Nothing can be done with these wastes other than storing them. Until now, at least, because startup Oklo has designed a type of reactor that works with discarded uranium. Your Aurora reactor is capable of processing this type of waste for energy. In this way, the material will have a second life.

The Aurora reactor will use low enrichment uranium. This means that a level of the uranium-235 isotope (the one that sustains the fission reaction) will be between 5% and 20%. This fuel can be obtained from nuclear waste from power plants. But you need a recycling process. Plutonium and other elements produced during the nuclear reaction need to be separated.

residuos nucleares en baterías

The Aurora reactor, a new contribution
Aurora’s proposal kills two birds with one stone. The need to generate power cannot be underestimated, but reducing nuclear waste is an added benefit. At the moment it is a project in its beginnings, but it has already reached an agreement with the INL. This organization, the Idaho National Laboratory, was the one that opened the first nuclear power plant in the United States. Its size within this energy sector is unquestionable. He estimates that each year he will be able to generate about 450 kilos of useful material for the Aurora reactor.

Of course, it is not the first solution aimed at reducing nuclear waste. There has been speculation about the possibility of turning them into batteries. Extracting carbon-14 from the material would generate diamonds with the capacity to generate an electric current when subjected to a radioactive field.

The Nobel Prize in Physics Gérard Mourou has theorized about the possibility of destroying waste with a laser. It has even been proven that there are bacteria capable of feeding on this type of material. Another of the original ways to get rid of this heavy environmental burden.

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