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Science & Technology

Graphene could 'revolutionize nuclear power'

May 9, 2017 | Comment icon 9 comments



Graphene is an atomic-scale hexagonal lattice. Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0 AlexanderAlUS
Scientists in Manchester have revealed that graphene can make heavy water production more efficient.
There seems to be no shortage of uses for graphene, a relatively recent 'wonder material' that is up to 200 times stronger than even the strongest steel and conducts electricity better than copper.

Now according to new research conducted by scientists at the University of Manchester, graphene could also be used to help clean up the nuclear industry as well.

The key lies in making the production of heavy water up to 100 times more efficient by using special graphene membranes capable of more effectively separating sub-atomic particles.
Even though the costs would be high, the benefits would significantly outweigh the expense.

"Tritium discharged both from nuclear power plants and as a result of environmental disasters is a major global concern," said Sir Andre Geim, a professor of condensed matter physics who in 2010 won a Nobel Prize for his research in to graphene.

"We believe this technology can economically transform the environmental footprint of future nuclear plants."

Source: Manchester News | Comments (9)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by cyclopes500 5 years ago
What's this stuff like when it comes to Wigners energy? https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windscale_fire
Comment icon #2 Posted by Chaldon 5 years ago
I won't believe graphene is useful until I buy something made of graphene and would not notice it.
Comment icon #3 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
It take from the article that Graphene is quite expense at this point.† The cost is probably not cost effective unless you get a benefit as described.† Maybe scientists need to find a way to make graphene less costly
Comment icon #4 Posted by highdesert50 5 years ago
Unsure of the economics or scalability, but seems graphene would be a viable tool to desalinate or purify water.
Comment icon #5 Posted by Nzo 5 years ago
There has been so much scientific work done on Graphene. Initially it was carbon nanotubes and how revolutionary they would be. Now it seems that one layer of carbon atoms is the panacea to all our worldly problems. At least from what the research shows us. When applied to battery tech... up to 10x the density of Li Ion. When applied to solar panels... efficiency goes from 20% to 80-100% When applied as a material... Much much stronger than carbon fiber and super light. There are applications researched from desalinating water to superconductors to better electronics. The only problem it seems... [More]
Comment icon #6 Posted by NuclearImplosion 5 years ago
Having spent a career in nuclear power, more effecient heavy water production won't do much to
Comment icon #7 Posted by NuclearImplosion 5 years ago
Okay ... let's try again: †Having spent a career in nuclear power, more efficient heavy water production won't do much to revolutionize it. Most reactors are "light water" and do not require tritium to operate. Tritium is a by-product.† There are many new prototype reactors that could revolutionize the industry, (https://www.energy.gov/ne/nuclear-reactor-technologies/small-modular-nuclear-reactors) but with a perpetually fearful public and the economic pressure that fracking has created by making the natural gas price fall so low, it's not likely in the near future.††(http://oilprice.com/Alter... [More]
Comment icon #8 Posted by NCC1701 5 years ago
Wouldn't it be nice to have these graphene filters to turn your coffee maker into a heavy water machine. That you can use to power your own home reactor. Simply as that!
Comment icon #9 Posted by aztek 5 years ago
yea, i'v heard about graphite balls reactors over 10 years ago, where are they?


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