Laser lights renders radioactive waste safe ?
DANGERS associated with radioactive waste, and the problems and huge expense of its disposal could soon end after a Scottish researcher discovered how to neutralize its harmful effects using light.
New research by a leading scientist at the University of Strathclyde could revolutionize the waning fortunes of the nuclear power industry -- restoring both political and public faith in an energy source that was once hailed as the future of clean, green energy.
Using a laser, Professor Ken Ledingham has successfully transformed one of the deadliest products of nuclear fission into inert matter in minutes.
The Vulcan laser, housed at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, has enabled Prof Ledingham and his team to use nothing more than the focused energy contained in light to excite the nucleus of the iodine 129 isotope, with a radioactive half life of 15.7 million years.
When hit with laser light the isotope becomes totally inert and safe to handle in less than an hour.
If developed on a commercial scale the technology would transform nuclear power generation from a hazardous and prohibitively expensive means of power production by making it safer and cheaper, as well as opening a potentially huge lead for the UK.
It is forecast that such lasers could achieve pulse powers greater than the electrical power generated by all the world’s power plants combined. Laser driven nuclear power means that radioactive material can be dealt with on site.
Prof Ledingham said: "The question of transmutation of all radioactive waste is a long way down the track, probably ten to 20 years. The only way of doing this at present is by building huge accelerators. However, in the same time lasers will develop enormously and so there will be two players on the block."
Permission to publish,
This finding has not been verified. 8-9-03
Interesting basic research as seen below found at http://www.unibas.ch/epa/glossary/H.htm
HARMONIC FREQUENCY GENERATION
Production of coherent radiation of frequency k (k = 2, 3,..) from coherent radiation of frequency . In general, this effect is obtained through the interaction of laser light with a suitable optical medium with nonlinear polarizability. The case k=2 is referred to as frequency doubling, k = 3 is frequency tripling, k = 4 is frequency quadrupling. Even higher integer values of k are possible.
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