Radioactive power

Published: Wednesday 15 January 1997

Trees contaminated by radioactivity from the 1986 Chernobyl disaster are to be burnt to produce electricity. Scientists from the us and Belarus are planning to construct a power plant fueled by timber from around the crippled reactor. Larry Baxter, a chemical engineer working in the area claims that more than 99.9 per cent of the radionucleides in the trees can be trapped as ash inside the biomass plant. He predicts that the biomass power stations would decontaminate Belarus's forests within 40 years, compared to the centuries it would take for the radioactivity to decay naturally ( New Scientist , Vol 152, No 2053).

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