AUSTIN, Texas — A team of University of Texas physicists has patented a technology that could solve a major drawback of nuclear power — radioactive waste.
The innovation, which will not be tested for at least a couple more years, could lead to the efficient incineration of such waste and a safer way to generate nuclear-powered electricity.
The problem of radioactive waste, along with safety anxieties among the public, has long vexed the nuclear industry. The United States has wavered on whether to set up a long-term repository for long-lasting waste in remote spots such as Yucca Mountain, Nev.
The UT scientists received a patent in August for technology that allows the pairing of nuclear fusion and fission to incinerate nuclear waste. Fusion produces energy by fusing atomic nuclei, and fission produces energy by splitting atomic nuclei.
Called a Super X Divertor, the innovation can allow fusion reactors to be built much smaller and allow them to be coupled with a traditional fission reactor for on-site incineration of radioactive waste.
— Staff and wire reports