Atomic element number 98, a little-known radioactive metal dubbed californium, may change how we handle radioactive waste. Scientists have found that Cf is extremely resistant to radiation damage and could be used to build tough storage containers to hold tremendously corrosive material. The findings, published online yesterday in Nature Chemistry, also include the discovery of californium’s impressive ability to bond and separate materials, suggesting that the element could sift through processed nuclear fuel and separate out any unused fuel that may still be used for energy. According to Time, the only bad thing about californium is that it’s ridiculously expensive; 5 milligrams of the substance cost $1.4 million.
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