Research: Aquatic plant life can help clean up radioactive pollution
Their two years of research was published Thursday in a special edition of Springer's Journal of Plant Research.
The research group, led by Yoshihiro Shiraiwa of the
of Tsukuba, identified 17 microalgae, aquatic plants and algae could efficiently remove radioactive cesium, iodine and strontium from the environment. Because the strains identified are easy to harvest and dry, they could potentially be used to recover radioactive cesium from a huge volume of polluted water if the cesium is dissolved in the water, the researchers said.
"Biological concentration of radio-nuclides is an essential technology for bio-remediation of radio-polluted soils and water," Shiraiwa said. "Therefore our results provide an important strategy for decreasing [radioactive pollution] in the Fukushima area."
The researchers said more studies were needed on the algal strains before their findings could be implemented.
Microalgae May Help Clean Radioactive Pollution at Fukushima, Researchers SayTokyo Electric Power Co. officials check a wall along the coastline at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan on Nov. 7, 2013. Scientists said that microalgae are helping remove radioactive pollution from the waters around the plant, which suffered multiple meltdowns after an earthquake in March 2011.
Microscopic species could help clean up one of the world’s biggest environmental disasters, researchers claim.
In an article published in the Journal for Plant Research this week, a team of Japanese scientists said that six strains of microalgae, along with certain types of aquatic plants and other algae, could help remove radioactive pollution from the waters around the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan, which suffered multiple meltdowns after a devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
[READ: Suburbs Wipe Out Cities' Green Initiatives] In particular, the strains absorb radioactive cesium, iodine and strontium, which make-up most of the radioactive pollution in the area, the
said. The findings, researchers added, may ultimately help workers develop more methods for mopping up the area around Fukushima. “Our results provide an important strategy for decreasing radiopollution in Fukushima area,” the team wrote. “An urgent risk has arisen due to biological intake and subsequent food web contamination in the ecosystem.”
Japan’s Ministry of Energy has estimated that cleanup around the plant will cost about $35 billion. Initially slated to be completed in March, the timeline was pushed back in December to 2017, the Japan Times reported.
Even such possibility brings us some hope,
Even if those algae would indeed attract and assimilate 90% of the environmental contamination, the problem of what to do afterwards with all those highly contaminated algae remains, and with 3 ongoing meltdown at Fukushima Daiichi constantly unceasingly puking contamination into the sea, to remove it all out of the seawater would be a pipe dream turning a never ending nightmare....