Scientists Develop a More Efficient Energy Source

July 25, 2008

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Scientists in Illinois and Idaho are developing a process that could generate energy while destroying radioactive materials.

The Argonne National Laboratory in southwest suburban Chicago and the Idaho National Laboratory are developing a process called deep burn. In theory, a deep burn reactor produces temperatures of about 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit. That generates electricity more efficiently than reactors commonly used today. Hussein Khalil is part of the Argonne team. He says the process would burn up hazardous discharge like plutonium and uranium.

KHALIL: It has the huge advantage of being non-polluting and doesn't emit greenhouse gases. It can over the long term help address the concerns about climate change.

Khalil says it could be a decade before the first pilot reactor is in place. The Illinois and Idaho labs will share a $7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy for work on the project.