Radioactivity Cured By A Capsule
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Aired 3/27/12 on KPBS News.
Scientists discover a method to render radioactive materials harmless in drinking water, beverages.
Scientists have discovered a way to remove radioactive material from water, milk, fruit juices and baby formula.
Allen Apblett led the research team at Oklahoma State University. The results of his research were discussed today at a chemists' convention in San Diego today.
Apblett said he was experimenting with methods of removing uranium and heavy metals from drinking water. His team was also looking at ways to mine the ocean for uranium. But in the wake of the 2011 tsunami that damaged the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan, the research shifted to find ways to make food and water safe for consumption in case of disaster.
Because uranium is not usually found without other ions, Apblett added those in the experimentation.
That's when he found that adding calcium and magnesium speeded up the absorption process of radioactive material.
"It made the reaction go much faster. And when it comes to treating milk and baby formula it's ideal because you remove the strontium and replace it with calcium which is good for us anyway," Apblett said.
While the technology can be used large-scale in factories, it is also being designed for use in home kitchens as a capsule that can be dropped in as drink.