Scientists in France are studying algae discovered in a nuclear facility for its potential to decontaminate radioactive liquids.The species of micro-alga called Coccomyxa actinabiotis can survive radiation doses up to 20 kilograys. Microorganisms are frequently used in systems that treat industrial waste in non-nuclear settings, and a radiation-resistant species could potentially remove radionuclides more economically than existing technology. Researchers at Grenoble University, Montpellier University, Institut Laue-Langevin, and France's Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission are developing a pilot plant to filter liquids containing carbon-14, uranium-238 and cesium-137, according to a release from the Institution of Chemical Engineers.Scientists published a feasibility study this month in the journal Separation and Purification Technology on some of the initial steps they've taken in that direction. It found that the alga species can be effectively separated and harvested using an organic membrane.
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