Algae will be used to decontaminate radioactive water at the Fukushima nuclear power plant

More than three years after the catastrophic tsunami, the main problem of the emergency Fukushima nuclear power plant remains huge reserves (about 500 million liters) of radioactive water. The situation is getting more complicated every day, as all emergency tanks are overfilled, and the amount of contaminated water continues to grow.

In solving this problem, Japanese researchers pin great hopes on the use of algae that can reliably bind radionuclides. A group of biologists at the University of Tsukuba, headed by Professor Y. Shiraiva, identified 188 species of sea and river algae and subjected them to rigorous testing.

The prototype was placed in a test tube, where there was 15 ml of water at a temperature of +20 C and around-the-clock intense lighting. At the same time, the concentration of radioactive isotopes of iodine, cesium and strontium gradually increased in the water. After that, a comparison was made of the capabilities of these algae for the absorption of radionuclides.

The undisputed winners were 17 types of algae. Among them, it is worth highlighting the unicellular green alga Nak 9 and the cyanobacterium Nostok ordinary, which were able to bind, respectively, 90% of radioactive cesium and 66% of radioactive iodine. Not without disappointment - all the algae turned out to be freshwater, while the water is naturally sea. It is possible that for the implementation of this project it will have to be desalinated.