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Cleaning Uranium Waste with Bacteria 154

Posted by Hemos
from the creating-a-cleaner-tomorrow dept.
Roland Piquepaille writes "Nuclear bombs can kill people even if they're not used. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Energy estimates that more than 2,500 billion liters of groundwater are contaminated with uranium as a consequence of nuclear weapons production. In "Uranium 'pearls' before slime," scientists from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) say they discovered that some common bacteria could "convert deadly heavy metal into less threatening nano-spheres." In fact, these bacteria can convert soluble radioactive uranium into a non-toxic solid form called uraninite. Still, more research needs to be done before using these bacteria on a large scale, but it's a step in the good direction. Read more for additional references and photos showing how Shewanella oneidensis can help us to decontaminate groundwater at nuclear waste sites."
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Cleaning Uranium Waste with Bacteria

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  • 2500 billion? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by IlliniECE (970260)
    Wouldn't it be cooler to say 2.5 trillion?
    • by reporter (666905) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:55PM (#15896688) Homepage
      We should not be surprised over the fact that these bacteria actually thrive on the radioactive uranium instead of being killed by it.

      Look at how wildfire has actually thrived in the radioactive area contaminated by the Chernobyl accident [bbc.co.uk]. That radioactive area is called the Chernobyl zone and has been devoid of people for more than 20 years. The absense of people (who are known killers of wildlife) has enabled wildlife to re-populate the Chernobyl zone.

      In the long run, the stupidity (also known as nuclear weapons and global warming) of man may exterminate mankind, but nature will survive. Heed the wisdom of the Native Americans [synaptic.bc.ca]: "The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth."

      • Most of chenrobyl is safe again. Go google more on this and you will find links to people who have visited including a well known photographer?

        However near the plant and other hot spots you can certainly see problems. Radiatation 10,000x more than normal has stunted growth on many pine trees just nort of the plant. Also I would not go anywhere near the vehicles used for teh cleanup at the dump without a radiation suit. It certainly affects nature but if your not in a hot spot which 90% of the area closed of
      • Look at how wildfire has actually thrived in the radioactive area contaminated by the Chernobyl accident.

        Yeah, because people were rampantly killing wildfire. And it has not been devoid of people (there are groups that refused to leave, and continue to be there). Maybe the radiation has mutated them to be able to produce energy from the sun, so they don't have to kill things to live. And it made them really small, so they don't take up any space where animals and plants would otherwise be.

        people (who
      • Sorry, but the american indians were a bit short-sighted. This planet is the property of h.sapiens. Life itself is doomed unless humans manage to take it to other planets. Life on this planet is doomed unless humans learn how to change this planet to compensate for solar fluxuation. The american indians were worse than most other primitive cultures in their tendency to anthropomorphize. That is a naieve way to view the universe.
      • I think we're entirely capable of exterminating vast portions of nature. Radiation may not do the job, but using a combination of toxic and ultra-stable chemicals, atmospheric contaminants that block light in the energy ranges useful for photosynthesis, and so on, we could definitely leave large sections of the Earth life-free for millenia. With enough damage, we could kill all but the simplest marine life around vents; there probably wouldn't be enough time for multicellular photosynthesizers to re-evolv
        • Really though, it's not that surprising that life can withstand radiation, in hindsight. After all, plants and animals are out there every day, all day, without succumbing to the radiation bombarding them from the sun or from space.

          It is nothing like the same kind of radiation.
        • With enough damage, we could kill all but the simplest marine life around vents; there probably wouldn't be enough time for multicellular photosynthesizers to re-evolve before either the sun turned into the red giant or the planet's core cooled enough for the oceans to sink into the mantle.

          I think this is highly unlikely. Unless our measurements are way, way off, life sprung from nothing to an ocean-full of diverse organisms within a billion years of Earth's formation. Scientific consensus is that the Sun
          • It actually occurred to me since I posted this that hydrothermal vents DO have meagre numbers of ultra-efficient photosynthetic bacteria that live off of the glow of the heated rock. So marine algal mats could rebound quickly. Wee vent fish, crabs, and worms could probably adapt to live off of those mats. So marine life could possibly rebound in just a few million years. And having both a crustacean and a vertebrate in the new order gives it a running shot at having interesting terrestrial life if and w
      • We should not be surprised over the fact that these bacteria actually thrive on the radioactive uranium instead of being killed by it.

        This isn't the first tyme something like this is shown to help clean pollution. Bioremediation has been studied for years. For instance it was shown hemp can be used to clean lead from soil in brownfields. Purdue has a paper going through some of the things hemp can do, Hemp: A New Crop with New Uses for North America* [purdue.edu]. And hemp is just one of the plants that may be go

    • No.

      1 trillion = a billion times a billion

      2500 billion != a billion times a billion
      • Re:2500 billion? (Score:3, Informative)

        by ToasterofDOOM (878240)
        Wrong. In the commonly used system today, 2500 billion (2,500,000,000,000) IS equal to 2.5 Trillion (2,500,000,000,000) as 1 billion would equal 1,000,000 * 1,000. However, in the old system 2.5 Trillion would equal 2,500,000 Billion, as 1 billion would equal 1,000,000 * 1,000,000
      • I was actually taught this in school during the '60s (in Australia), also 1B = 1M * 1M. I think it was one of those US vs UK things like color vs colour.
    • by nolife (233813)
      I would have used 5.07210338 × 10^14 US teaspoons

    • Re:2500 billion? (Score:3, Informative)

      There are several uses of billion which may or may not add up to 2.5 trillion. The British and American system's billion is not the same.
    • I think it would be cooler to say .0025 quadrillion.
  • by tokenhillbilly (311564) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:08PM (#15896526)
    Didn't anybody ever watch TROMA's "The Toxic Advenger". What's going to happen to these bugs after they've eaten all the plutonium and come after the people? Oh, the humanity!
  • We're going from "Ick... tastes like radiation" to "Mmm...! Tastes like Shewanella oneidensis!"
    • Re:Great... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We're going from "Ick... tastes like radiation" to "Mmm...! Tastes like Shewanella oneidensis!"

      I think you are going to be a little disappointed on the "tastes like radiation" part. U-238 has a half-life of over 4 billion years. Even U-235 has an excessively large 700 million year half life. To say uranium (enriched or otherwise) is radioactive is technically true. But it sort of loses its meaning when compared to something like Co-60. The most likely cause of death if you are around uranium is heavy m

      • Or be exposed to U238. A spec of dust can kill you from the radiation.

        However I do remember reading that chernobyl will be habitable in 400 years so I wonder about the half life? Most of it after 20 years is quite habitable and safe though the hot spots are not which is why its still closed off.

        Natural Uranium contains very very small amounts of U238 so its safe to touch but dont confuse it with refined weapons or plant grad e isotypes.
        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Informative)

          by Aglassis (10161) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:22AM (#15897011)
          Or be exposed to U238. A spec of dust can kill you from the radiation.

          Natural Uranium contains very very small amounts of U238 so its safe to touch but dont confuse it with refined weapons or plant grad e isotypes.
          What? You are probably thinking about the plutonium urban legend [russp.org] that has been spread around by Ralph Nader. Plutonium dust is also about as toxic as any other heavy metal. Feel free to try to counter my statement with facts, but I ask that you calculate the activity [wikipedia.org] of that spec of dust and then calculate the expected dose [wikipedia.org]. Until you can do that, you really can't tell me how lethal it is (by the way, the fact that activity is calculated with only the decay constant and the number of atoms should clue you in that a spec of uranium, which will have extremely small values for both the decay constant and the number of atoms, will also have an extremely small value for its activity).

          Second, U-238 is 99.28% of natural uranium. U-235 is 0.72% Weapons grade, or enriched uranium is natural uranium that has a much higher percentage of U-235.
  • by Black-Six (989784) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:12PM (#15896534)
    If one were to input this common bacteria into a operating nuclear reactor, would that mean that the reactor would clean itself the longer it operated? Of couse there would have to be a way to seperate core material from already used fuel to prevent the bacteria from shutting it down. But if it were possible, wouldn't this be be more efficent than summarily throwing away the whole fuel rod assembly? Look forward to seeing your all's response's.
    • by Drewsonian (944980) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:27PM (#15896580)
      Maybe not quite a "Holy Grail," but a possible solution nonetheless. It seems like the spent fuel would have to be removed from the reactor as it is currently and transported to a safe storage location on or off site in order for the bacteria to have a controlled environment to work their alleged magic. But you'd also have to consider the type of fuel. It would likely take less time for bacteria to attack and transform nuclear pellets than fuel rods, because the pellets have a greater surface area to "attack."

      It'd be interesting to get more information on how long it takes the bacteria to transform the material, the lifespan, and reproductive cycle of the bacteria. If you need a massive quantity, it may not be quite so feasible.
    • I don't think the bacteria would appreciate the 10 million degree temperatures.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Fission reactors operate at a few hundred degrees - which is probably still enough to kill the bacteria even before we start asking questions about the radiation levels. You may be thinking of fusion reactors, which use ultra-hot plasmas, but they don't contain or produce uranium and are pretty much vaporware at the moment anyway.
    • by Frumious Wombat (845680) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:05AM (#15896948)
      Politely, no. The organism is filtering free ions in solution, and using them for its energy needs, in the process precipitating out less-soluble minerals. This may be the origin of uranium deposits which are mined, at least in some cases.

      So, the purpose here is if you have a mess such as Hanford, i.e. millions of gallons of highly radioactive soluble waste, this bacterium can help precipitate is as uranite, and take it out of your water supply. It's not going to dine on fuel rods. I'm not sure you'd want that anyway, as it would be fairly annoying to hear about rolling blackouts due to a bacterial infestation eating a reactor core.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Uranium in reactors is inside fuel pellets that are encased in a zirconium cladding (kind of like the chocolate inside an M&M candy). Those fuel pellets are then embedded or sandwiched in fuel plates made from various forms of stainless steel with zirconium cladding as well. The uranium fuel does not move around. I doubt the bacteria could penetrate those materials to get to the uranium. In theory, the uranium and its fission products (gases and solids) should never leave the confines of the fuel pe
    • No. Nuclear Reactors get HOT. There are bacteria that can survive at 200 degrees F, sure. But we're talking around 2500 degrees and upward.
    • If one were to input this common bacteria into a operating nuclear reactor, would that mean that the reactor would clean itself the longer it operated?



      No, it would simply mean that the bacteria die due to the high temperature. It's hot inside an opeating nuclear reactor.

  • Recycling (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yes, but is there any bacteria that can take care of Roland Piquepaille?
  • by EmagGeek (574360) <gterich@aol.LISPcom minus language> on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:18PM (#15896554) Journal
    We cannot simply exploit these living animals for our own selfish needs. These bacteria need to be allowed free range so they can live healthy, happy, natural lives without human oppression. We have a consistent track record of exploiting animals for our own use - even torturing them for our own entertainment. These bacteria need to be protected immediately! Oh won't someone please think of the bacteria!
  • Uraninite...? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FlyByPC (841016)
    They use this stuff to test Geiger counters -- since it emits at a high enough rate to make them go nuts. How is this "non-toxic"?
    • Re:Uraninite...? (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It may be radioactive, but at least it won't get in people's drinking water.
    • How is this "non-toxic"?

      What they are speaking of is chemical toxicity. Poisonous.

      Lead, the final result of uranium decay, is no longer radioactive, but it is still poisonous.

      KFG
    • Re:Uraninite...? (Score:3, Informative)

      by DarthBart (640519)
      Uranium is primarily an alpha emitter. Alpha particles can be stopped by a layer of clothing. Sure, its radioactive, but it won't turn you into the Toxic Avenger unless you consume it and it can directly irradiate your innards from the inside.
    • Re:Uraninite...? (Score:3, Informative)

      by asuffield (111848)
      Uranium isn't particularly radioactive and what it emits from radioactive decay isn't particularly dangerous (mostly alphas, which are blocked by everything, including your skin and a couple inches of air) - it has a long half life, but there's millions of tons of the stuff all over the planet and you aren't dead yet. Most Geiger counters will go 'nuts' at almost anything that's big enough to handle, since they're usually designed to find trace amounts of radioactive material; a large lump of anything will
  • by MSTCrow5429 (642744) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:28PM (#15896585)
    "Nuclear bombs can kill people even if they're not used. In the U.S. alone, the Department of Energy estimates that more than 2,500 billion liters of groundwater are contaminated with uranium as a consequence of nuclear weapons production. Ok, let's be scientific here. First, the proposed problem is not that unused nuclear bombs can kill people themselves, but that the production of nuclear weapons creates a radioactive byproduct that is alleged to be dangerous. Where is this byproduct located? Is it contaminating known in use reservoirs? Is it all far away from any humans that would use this groundwater? Or is it somewhere in between? Assuming people are ingesting the radioactive byproduct, how many rads are they irradiated with? Is it a neglible amount? Are they dying in their showers? This story hasn't bothered to be consistent with its own terminology, and I don't think it's too early to call it hysterical fearmongering sans hard data.
    • Well, whatever your into. Personally I prefer my drinking water with zero amount of nuclear by-products
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Drinking water with zero nuclear byproducts would cost an infinite amount of money. But if you want to set a tolerance (for a finite amount of money), tell me what it is and justify why you think that level is safe.

        Problems always get harder when you have to put them into the real world. I would like to have zero atoms of arsenic in my drinking water, but I settle for 10 ppb. Why not 5 ppb? Or 1 ppt? Or 1 ppmttmb (million trillion trillion million billion)? Answer: because we live in the real world.
    • Those are all valid questions. The DOE maintains a number of so-called lagacy sites where materials were produced for nuclear weapons and nuclear fuel. Some sites are pretty far from large population centers, others are in that "somewhere in between" area. At this moment, the uranium from DOE's lagacy sites isn't poisoning anyone. Drinking water supplies near a couple of these DOE sites do show elevated (compared to the natural background) levels of uranium and those levels are rising. However, those l
  • Did anyone else see the last episode of Stargate? Small creatures + radioactivity = large man eating monsters
  • the Department of Energy estimates that more than 2,500 billion liters of groundwater are contaminated with uranium as a consequence of nuclear weapons production.

    Not to mention the oceans.

    This probably has something to do with the fact that uranium is a naturally occurring mineral that's pretty much omnipresent at one concentration or another in any lump of soil you'd care to dig up. Oh noes!
    • Re:And? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Just because it's a trace element doesn't mean it's good for you. Contaminated means there are high levels. Saying it's a naturtally occuring trace element is just rationalizing irresponsible handling of nuclear materials. Most of the contamination actually has come from nuclear weapons and other government backed sites because there is less strict oversight. The work is seen as vital so a whatever it takes attitude is taken. The problem is most of the sites haven't even started their clean up so no one rea
  • by JeanBaptiste (537955) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @10:42PM (#15896630)
    All these awesome science stories, cutting edge stuff that not even digg or fark dares to post.

    (looks closer) Oh. Its a roland piquapallawhatever submitted story.

    (is eaten by a grue)

  • Already posted before not too long back?
  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Saturday August 12, 2006 @11:14PM (#15896744) Journal
    No uraninite.
  • Last I checked, RADIOACTIVE is not the same thing as non-toxic and uraninite is pretty danged radioactive. Personally when I think non-toxic I think elmer's glue, not something that in even very small pieces can kill me and my whole family. Urininte Mineral Data: http://webmineral.com/data/Uraninite.shtml [webmineral.com]
    • The predominant health risk of Uranium is heavy metal toxicity, not radioactivity.
      Uranium has quite a low specific activity compared to shorter-lived artificial nucleides, and decays predominatly by alpha decay as has already been pointed out.
      Thus, soluble ions of Uranium, and other heavy actinides, are a signifcant environmental health concern, however, the insoluble oxides, such as UO2, PuO2 etc. aren't absorbed into the body, thus mitigating this hazard very significantly.
      Recall Bernard Cohen's fam
    • Why is it that when people here the words "nuclear" or "radioactive" they change from rational human beings into mindless idiots running and screaming in terror? Here's an experiment: Place one gram of Uraninite (or other harmless but omfgradioactive material) into a lead box with the radioactive symbol [wikipedia.org] on the outside and then set the box somewhere downtown in a large city, making sure that he police and press get wind of it. Chances are we'll be in full police-state mode by tomorrow.

      Seriously man, kil
  • Put it back. (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I am a physicist. I've worked as aerospace engineer on spacecraft hardening and earth-resources monitoring; as chemical engineer on groundwater contamination and chemical remediation; as nuclear engineer as nuclear contamination monitor and waste containment engineer. This is baloney. Bugs which could digest chemicals could help for spills but will not alter or even contain the emitters. You'll only make a sludge full of it. And that won't go away. It all depends upon the type of emitters and whether or not
  • by Venik (915777) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @12:44AM (#15897084)
    Uranium (natural, enriched, or depleted) is both chemically toxic and radioactive. The article talks about using bacteria to reduce chemical toxicity of this metal. The radioactivity will remain. Chemical toxicity of uranium waste will kill you before its radioactivity does. This is not to say that radioactivity is not a concern.

    Depleted uranium, for example, is only about half as radioactive as naturally-occurring uranium. However, its radioactivity has a cumulative effect. If you are breathing depleted uranium particles or drinking water contaminated with depleted uranium, the radioactive particles will be deposited in your body and radioactivity levels and its effects on your health will grow with time.

    Depleted uranium is used by the US (among a few other countries) in anti-armor ammunition. Hundreds of tons of this stuff have been dispersed in Kosovo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. When that artillery shell hits a tank, its depleted uranium content burns and turns into radioactive aerosol, which can stay in the air for days and can be carried by wind dozens of miles. When this radioactive dust eventually settles, it penetrates underground with rainfall and contaminates ground water.

    It was also discovered that, for example, depleted uranium ammunition used by the US in Kosovo, contains trace elements of enriched plutonium, which is not good news either. If you want to test the long-term effects of radioactive waste in ground water on yourself but don't feel like moving to Kosovo, Maryland would be an adequate alternative.

  •   So this means there is two lifeforms that shall inherit the earth after nuclear war.

    Roaches and Shewanella oneidensis bacteria.
  • by ChilyWily (162187) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @01:29AM (#15897194) Homepage
    I want these motherfucking bacteria off this motherfucking uranium.
  • by leonidas (134452) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @02:18AM (#15897287) Homepage
    Reading through the comments so far, there seems to be some misunderstanding of the work by the PNNL crowd and of bioremediation in general. My research group here at Argonne National Laboratory (which outside of Chicago) collaborates with the folks from PNNL. In fact, I am writing this very early on a Sunday morning while measuring the oxidation state of uranium using X-ray Absorption Spectroscopy at the Advanced Photon Source in samples from a collaborator at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which, like PNNL, is a center of research into uranium bioremediation.

    First, a few words about the concept of bioremediation. The Department of Energy became interested in bioremediation of metallic contamination after the extensive success of bioremediative techniques for cleaning up organic contamination -- things like benzene or trichloroethylene. The basic idea is that you dose the ground with bacteria that can metabolize the organic contaminant, let the bugs happily live their lives, then in the end the ground is much cleaner than before. Variations on this technique are in wide use for many organic contaminants and in many places around the world.

    The Department of Energy's started several years ago to fund research into using similiar concepts to clean up ground water contamination associated with various sites where materials for nuclear weapons or nuclear fuel were produced. There are several sites in the US where the groundwater has elevated levels of uranium and other metals. Bioremediation is attractive because it involves remediation in situ. The ground doesn't need to be dug up, which introduces a whole slew of other problems into the mix.

    Unfortunately, metals are different from organics. When a bacterium metabolizes benzene, the benzene goes away. When a dissimilatory metal reducer, like Shewanella, respires on a uranium compound, the most it can do is change the chemical state of uranium. It is impossible to turn the uranium into some other element. As several other posters have pointed out, uraninite (the end product of Shewnella's respiration of uranium compounds) is still radioactive and it is still toxic.

    However, uraninite is not soluble. The uranium in the ground water is in a soluble form and therefore will flow through the ground and find its way into rivers and into drinking water supplies. Uraninite is highly insoluble. When Shewnella converts soluble uranium into uraninite, the uraninite particles adhere to the rocks in the ground.

    Thus uranium bioremediation is a containment-in-place strategy. The danger of the contaminated sites is that the contamination will spread. The uranium-polluted site will still be polluted after the Shewnella has done its thing, but at least the uranium will not move out of the contaminated site. And that's the point of the DOE's bioremediation strategy -- to keep a problem that exists from spreading and becoming a bigger problem.
  • ...the plot to a zombie movie? Uranium eating bacteria mutate and infect humans, turning them into radioactive zombies. ...Maybe i've been playing too much Dead Rising.
  • .. this might be usefull for Iraq and probably now, Libanon.

    Somebody seems to have left wast amounts of depleted Uranium there.
  • by ccmay (116316) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @05:28AM (#15897562)
    A trillion liters is 10^12 liters. It is the volume of water contained in a cubic kilometer. It weighs a trillion kilograms, by definition.

    2.5 trillion liters is a vanishingly small amount compared to all the fresh water (not to mention sea water) on Earth. There are 1.4 trillion cubic kilometers of sea water and about 6 billion cubic kilometers of fresh water.

    How much nuclear waste is there? Less than 250,000 tons, or 250 million kilograms, of high level waste in the whole world. If even as much as one one-hundredth of this waste were actually contaminating the groundwater in question, it would be at a concentration by weight of approximately (2.5 million kg) / (2.5 trillion kg) = 1:1,000,000.

    You could drink a liter of this mixture, with no more ionizing radiation than you get from spending a day in a granite building breathing radon-contaminated air, or living for a few days at the altitude of Denver.

    Small quantities of radiation are harmless. The linear no-threshold model of radiation dosimetry is a crock. Life evolved in a constant bath of terrestrial and cosmic radiation, and has very efficient mechanisms for repairing DNA damage from it.

    (All quantities gleaned from Wikipedia)

    • spending a day in a granite building breathing radon-contaminated air

      Most of us would prefer not to do such a thing - so I do not think much of your comparison. How about putting in decent ventilation?

      We can go and pretend that the nuclear research spin offs are all cheap clean and (glowing) green - or we can accept the reality that like any industrial process there are downsides along with the good things and deal with them. We have weapons (like or it not, more countries are getting them), we have incre

      • Most of us would prefer not to do such a thing - so I do not think much of your comparison. How about putting in decent ventilation?

        And what benefit is there to justify the cost of the ventilation? Satisfying an irrational preference to reduce a low level of radiation exposure.

        It is true that I would be exposed to more radiation at a sand mine tailings area near a major granite area where all the heavy stuff has been dumped for thirty years than outside a great big concrete containment area around a n

        • And what benefit is there to justify the cost of the ventilation? Satisfying an irrational preference to reduce a low level of radiation exposure.

          If the amount of radiation exposure to radon gas in those situations is ignorable then why bring it up? Pretending that industrial nuclear materials and waste are harmless is as stupid as doing the same with asbestos - with both things there are situations where they are perfectly safe and others where they are a hazard. The example I had of radioactive sand is

          • If the amount of radiation exposure to radon gas in those situations is ignorable then why bring it up?

            Because there are people who don't understand that and make bad decisions based on their fear of microscopic radiation doses.

            But not the proposed implementations by the people after some goverment hydrogen dollars unfortunately, where being made in the USA will over ride considerations as to whether the technology actually works or not - especially since nuclear is being pushed as the "fast" option

  • Maybe I've been watching way too many campy sci-fi movies from the 50's, but won't the radiation mutate the bacteria into horrible 50 foot slime-creatures devouring everything in their path?
  • Just to clarify: The article speaks about the chemical toxic properties of heavy metals (especially Uranium). The toxicity can be eliminated by converting the substance into another chemical compound. The article however does NOT talk about the physical radiocative properties of Uranium. Bacteria CAN NOT convert radioactive substances into non-radioactive ones.
  • I'm a totally layman here, so maybe this is obvious to people who know about it... could you please explain?

    How the heck can bacteria make an unstable nucleus more stable? Are they saying they've found a form of life whose metabolism involves nuclear reactions?!? Is this one of those amazing things that everyone but me has heard about, so I'm left in slack-jawed wonder like a caveman staring at an airplane, while the 21st-century passengers all laugh at me?

  • * Translation : Godzilla!

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