Ionization of Nuclear Waste
Date: Around 1993
I have heard that there is potential for the reduction of high
level nuclear through a process known as ionization. What is involved in this
theory and how close are we to realizing this technology ?
I do not think "ionization" is what they do, but yes, there are
methods of reducing long-lived radioactive isotopes to shorter-lived ones.
Ionization refers to adding or removing electrons from atoms. The idea with
nuclei is kind of similar - to add neutrons by bombarding the waste with
neutrons from a reactor, for example. Then induce a series of rapid reactions
that cause these things to decay to stable nuclei within at most a couple of
hundred years, rather then the hundreds of thousands some of them require
originally. The main problem is chemical separation of the materials.
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Update: June 2012