CEA announces radwaste breakthrough

30 October 2001

France’s atomic energy commission, the CEA, has announced that it is feasible to separate minor actinides and fission products contained in long-lived radwaste and subsequently transform them into shorter-lived isotopes. The discovery represents a scientific breakthrough in the commission’s ongoing effort to optimise long-lived radwaste.

Separation is thought to be the most promising but also the most ‘long-term’ of three options under scrutiny by the CEA. It comprises two stages: chemical separation of the components of long-lived radwaste, and their transmutation by neutron bombardment into other radioactive isotopes with significantly shorter half-lives.

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