By XiaoZhi Lim
Chemical & Engineering News
The need to dispose of radioactive waste is a problem that plagues nuclear power. Some 80% of the actinides, which include uranium and plutonium, remain in nuclear fuel after it is spent—thanks to the accumulation of lanthanide waste products formed during fission. Now researchers report a robust class of ligands that can bind to actinides and efficiently separate them from lanthanides, even under harshly acidic and radioactive conditions (J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2016, DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b03106). Using such ligands to recover and recycle unused actinides could potentially render nuclear waste nonradioactive and reduce the amount that ultimately needs to be disposed of.
Continue reading at Chemical & Engineering News. Originally published on June 24, 2016.