To make use of the radioactive waste from nuclear plants, University of Bristol scientists have an unusual plan: turn it into diamonds that can be used as long-lasting batteries.
The resulting diamond batteries would remain stable and give off a weak electrical current for an extremely long time, according to Popular Mechanics, making them a potential gamechanger to power medical devices or scientific equipment deployed in dangerous environments.
Most of the U.K.’s nuclear power plants are set to be decommissioned in the next 15 years, according to a Bristol press release. Physicist Tom Scott sees that as an opportunity to build diamond battery factories onsite that could take in and process the radioactive carbon-14 isotypes.
“This would significantly reduce the radioactivity of the remaining material, making it easier and safer to manage,” he said in the release.
The electrical current given off by the diamond batteries could last thousands of times longer than a conventional battery, according to PopMech.
“Over the past few years we have been developing ultra-low powered sensors that harvest energy from radioactive decay,” Scott said in the release. “This project is at quite an advanced stage now and we have tested the batteries in sensors in places as extreme as the top of a volcano!”
READ MORE: How to Turn Nuclear Waste Into Diamond Batteries [Popular Mechanics]
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