Whisky by-products to clean up radioactive waste
Source: The Spirits Business
by Annie Hayes
2nd November, 2015
Scientists have started testing the effectiveness of the excess grain from whisky production in absorbing toxic waste at a nuclear power plant in Scotland.
Researchers from the Environmental Research Institute in Scotland hope to clean up toxic waste at the Dounreay nuclear site using a “biosorption” process – where biological materials absorb radioactive isotopes.
Scientists believe grain left over from whisky production may be a “sustainable solution that can be sourced locally”, and are also testing seaweed, crab shells and coffee grounds.
The radioactive isotope is present in liquid waste inside Dounreay’s Shaft, which is situated in the shores of Pentland Firth approximately 65 metres below ground.
Radioactive waste was disposed at the Dounreay nuclear site from 1959 to 1977, when an explosion ended the practice.
Mike Gearhart, who leads the Dounreay Shaft and Silo project team, told the BBC: “We are pleased to be working with ERI to identify a sustainable solution that can be sourced locally.
“We still have a number of issues to address but results to date have been very promising.”