As a renewable source of energy that is low on carbon emissions and produces electricity cleaner, without the carbon debt. The use of nuclear energy is responsible for 10% of the electricity produced in the world. One problem is nuclear fuel to power their reactors, and it degrades during periods of continuous use. Over time, the spent fuel will be resupplied after five years. Spent radioactive materials need special storage to contain the radiation it still has.
Used up nuclear fuel is one of the deadliest materials to store, with lethal radiation and intense heat. Processing for disposal is done by placing it in a cooling pond, Water blocks the radiation to cool it until the heat is gone from fuel rods.
Fuel rods will have to be in submergence for more than twelve months, to lose heat for reprocessing. The elements of plutonium and uranium need to be removed and used as fuel again.
Some elements like americium, curium, and neptunium are removed during the process of bathing the rods. They produce heat and radiation left in the fuel rods, best yet it will decay in 9000 years that's is the concern for most scientists. Disposal is complicated and not easy to deal with.
Removing these harmful elements would be better, but it is still radioactive for 300 years. Still better than 9000 years but still a long time to wait.
The scientists have worked out a way to use molecules (triazines) which could remove the radioactive isotopes in a way that is selective but already know to them. Studies to know how to modify those molecules at certain parts, to bind or extract actinides are the molecule level. Perfecting and studying the mechanics to designing molecules that are better for spent nuclear processing.
What researchers did was to alter the size of the aliphatic rings for the molecules, from 6 to 5 membered rings. Doing this had the effect of capturing and extracting all minor actinides, comparing them to benchmark molecules under examination. One of the goals is to know how the changes were at the molecular level, utilizing several experimental methods on the control rods.
There are several observations by researchers using this method used to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods.
a. The objective is to develop a method to reprocess spent nuclear fuel rods more efficiently.
b. Tuning the cyclic aliphatic component of the molecules will lead to better actinide removal for re-using nuclear fuel.
c. Crucial modification and removal of radioactive metals are important for safer storage and processing for other uses.
d. Reduced radioactivity will make it less dangerous for the environment.
e. The use of spent nuclear fuel and the removal of lethal elements will be safer for a cleaner and better fuel source.
By far, nuclear fuel produces electricity in vast amounts, but there is a trade off for using this alternative power source. But, processing will beneficial once the technology is perfected. If was not for the heat and radiation, it is very beneficial for everyone when fossil fuel is pushing everything to the brink.