Leftover grain from making whisky is the latest plan for cleaning up toxic waste from the Dounreay nuclear site in Scotland.

Radioactive waste was dumped deep underground at Dounreay's Shaft from 1959 but the practice was ended after an explosion in 1977.

Now scientists are testing whether natural materials can absorb the radioactive metal isotope Strontium-90, which is present at the site, through 'biosorption'.

The process involves using the properties of dead biomass to bind and concentrate heavy metals from liquids and is currently used to extract fragments of precious metals like gold from sewage.

Grounds from coffee are also being tested to see how how well it absorbs Strontium-90, along with crab shells and seaweed.

Luckily for the Dounreay Shaft and Silo clean up team, there's no shortage of local distilleries to provide the raw material.

Mike Gearhart, leader of the project, told the BBC:

We are pleased to be working with ERI to identify a sustainable solution that can be sourced locally.

We still have a number of issues to address but results to date have been very promising.

HT Quartz

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)