A species of photosynthetic bacterium could help to soak up radioactive contaminants in polluted waterways. Benjamin Kocar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Karim Benzerara at the Sorbonne University in Paris and their colleagues found that the bacterium Gloeomargarita lithophora is particularly adept at sucking up the radioactive isotopes radium-226 and strontium-90. The former has a half-life of 1,600 years, can be found in mining and power-plant runoff, and is one of the most common radioisotopes in groundwater. By contrast, 90Sr mainly reaches waterways from nuclear tests and accidents, and has a half-life of 29 years. Both are thought to pose risks to the environment and human health, and prior research has explored the ability of various microbes, fungi and other organisms to gobble them up.
Nature 15th Oct 2019 read more »
Efforts to store more radioactive waste on Teesside have attracted more objections – this time from a council. Thornaby Town Council agreed to oppose to Augean’s bid for a permit to dispose of low level radioactive waste at its landfill site at Port Clarence . It comes after Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen mounted his own opposition to the plan last week . Thornaby Mayor Cllr Steve Walmsley told colleagues he’d found an unlikely ally at a meeting on Monday night (October 21). He added: “I don’t think I’ve ever agreed with him ever before, but Ben Houchen is dead right. “It sends out a signal that Teesside is a dumping area.” Augean sent its permit application to the Environment Agency in August. The landfill site, off Huntsman Drive, has been taking – and disposing of – hazardous and non-hazardous wastes for more than 20 years. It has claimed Teesside is “one of the very few” places in the UK that can handle such material safely. But Mayor Houchen fears this latest move would result in “mission creep” on Teesside which could “open the floodgates” to more nuclear waste storage. Cllr Mick Moore, independent member for the village ward, told the meeting he was tired of waste coming to Teesside. He added: “If it’s low level and it’s not going to hurt anybody, keep it in your own area. “We already have waste from everywhere else coming through to be burned.”
Teeside Gazette 23rd Oct 2019 read more »