Science Questions

How do you safely destroy radioactive plants?

Mon, 24th Oct 2011

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Question

CB Axel, Second Life asked:

How do you safely destroy radioactive plants?

Answer

You’d have to go collect them in a suit and then burn them down, collect the residues and dispose of them safely. 

If you were talking about another plant, then normally if you're genetically modifying them you autoclave them and kill them that way.

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I usually just pull them out of the ground and put them on the compost heap.

All plants are radioactive. Bored chemist, Tue, 25th Oct 2011

BC - there was a context to this question not implicit here; we had been discussing the use of GM crops designed to bioremediate radiation-contaminated soils by sequestering the radioisotopes in insoluble or other forms within the plant. Hence the question "what do you do with the result?" chris, Tue, 25th Oct 2011

I think BC is still correct!  You cannot burn them without risking turning soil-based radioactive particles into air-born.  The trouble with radiation is the only way to get rid of it is to let time pass.  You dont want your particles in the earth in order to avoid contaminating the water table - so you get plants to take it out of the earth, but then what do you do with the plants?  Allow them to rot (ie compost them) lots of the bulk gets given off as safe gas and you contain and store the rest imatfaal, Wed, 26th Oct 2011

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