Engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed new materials they believe could be used to help clean-up the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power stations. They worked in collaboration with scientists in Ukraine to develop the materials that can simulate Lava-like Fuel Containing Materials (LFCMs) that are said to be obstructing decommissioning efforts at the nuclear disaster sites. LFCMs are a mixture of highly radioactive molten nuclear fuel and building materials that fuse together during a nuclear meltdown. It is believed to be the first time a close approximation of a real LFCM has been achieved. Radioactive materials mixed with fuel cladding and other building materials in the reactors at Chernobyl and Fukushima are difficult and dangerous to remove from the sites and according to the researchers, if left untreated, the LFCMs pose an ongoing radiological safety risk to the local environment.
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