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 | EurekAlert!
Laser sensor LAH-G1 - optical distance sensors with measurement value display
15.08.2017 | WayCon Positionsmesstechnik GmbH
Engineers find better way to detect nanoparticles
14.08.2017 | Washington University in St. Louis
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.08.2017 | Earth Sciences
17.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy