Researchers from the University of Bristol Cabot Institute have come up with a win- win solution for two major issues. They are making use of radioactive waste to create “ultra-long-lasting” power sources
Researchers hope to recycle waste from decommissioned nuclear power plants around the UK. For this project, scientists have started working on the Berkeley plant in the county of Gloucestershire. This plant was decommissioned in 1989.
Now after 30 years, scientists consider it is safe to go into parts of the plant. They can now remove spent graphite stored in waste receptacles beneath the plant. Researchers explain by “encapsulating radioactive material inside diamonds,” graphite can be turned to create the batteries which are capable of providing power on a “near-infinite basis”.
Lead researcher of the project, Professor Tom Scott from the School of Physics said, “Over the past few years we have been developing ultra-low powered sensors that harvest energy from radioactive decay. This project is at quite an advanced stage now and we have tested the batteries in sensors in places as extreme as the top of a volcano!”
These batteries can be of great help, with applications especially in healthcare, spaceflight, and research in extreme conditions.