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Picture of the Day

Investigating the safe use and storage of nuclear waste

Behind protective glass on a laboratory bench sit vials containing vibrantly colored crystals -- iridescent blue, neon yellow, pitch black. A researcher created the compounds to learn whether they would be good candidates for solving an enduring problem in the United States: how to safely use and dispose of nuclear waste. There is a growing research enterprise working to address nuclear energy and waste. A squadron of scientists -- in chemistry, engineering and radiology -- are working to determine how to deal with stored nuclear waste without damaging the environment or threatening human health, and to train the next generation of scientists to study and solve the issue. The U.S. is facing a reckoning with its spent nuclear fuel. Nuclear waste is stored across the country in water-resistant metal tubes. But many of these tubes are decades old and have become susceptible to corrosion. If the waste -- all of it radioactive -- were to escape, the damage to the environment, and to people, could be significant.

Visit Website | Image credit: Tim Schoon/University of Iowa