Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists find safer ways to detect uranium minerals

22.11.2006
The threat of 'dirty' bombs and plans to use nuclear power as an energy source have driven Queensland University of Technology scientists to discover a new, safer way of detecting radioative contamination in the ground.

Professor Ray Frost, from QUT's School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, has found a way of identifying, from a remote location, uranium deposits that have leached into the soil and water.

"The ability to be able to easily and readily detect uranium minerals, especially secondary minerals, is of great importance especially in today's current climate of terrorism and increased uranium mining," Professor Frost said.

"What is not commonly known is that many uranium minerals, especially the secondary minerals, are soluble and can translocate or move in water to areas far away from where uranium sites are found.

"This means that uranium minerals could arise in soils and sediments from unknown origins and in locations far from their origins."

Professor Frost said using a technique known as near infrared spectroscopy, radioactive minerals could be detected by scientists located far away from a contaminated site.

"Using a fibre optic probe and the near infrared spectroscopy technique, we have found that we can detect whether uranium minerals are present in soil.

"Near infrared spectroscopy can identify the types of uranium minerals that are present.

"This means we can now identify whether or not radioactive deposits exist and the risk these deposits might present to both the environment and the community."

Near infrared spectroscopy is a technique that uses a light source to scan the surface of a material to identify the chemical properties of that surface.

In doing so, it is possible to determine whether or not radioactive uranium minerals are present in the ground.

Professor Frost said proposals to use nuclear power for the generation of electricity in Australia as well as other countries, indicated there would be increased mining of uranium in the future.

"This will result in mine waste and the accumulation of hazardous minerals," he said.

He said this coupled with the concerns raised about the threat of so-called dirty bombs as terrorism weapons, highlighted the importance of being able to identify radioactive uranium minerals.

Professor Frost said given the ability of radioactive uranium minerals to disperse over extensive locations, there was a definite need to widely test ground sites for possible contamination.

Media contact
- Sandra Hutchinson, QUT media officer, 07 3138 2130 or s3.hutchinson@qut.edu.au

Sandra Hutchinson | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.qut.edu.au

More articles from Power and Electrical Engineering:

nachricht Waste from paper and pulp industry supplies raw material for development of new redox flow batteries
12.10.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

nachricht Low-cost battery from waste graphite
11.10.2017 | Empa - Eidgenössische Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt

All articles from Power and Electrical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>