NPR : News

Zapping Nuclear Waste With Laser Beams Could Actually Be A Great Idea

"World's Most Powerful Laser Beams To Zap Nuclear Waste."

That Bloomberg Businessweek headline got our attention. We were imagining the explosion that might result.

But as it turns out, the zapping "could destroy nuclear waste and provide new cancer treatments," according to the story.

Businessweek's piece is an update on news that's been around for a couple years — that the Extreme Light Infrastructure European Project is developing lasers that are "10 times more powerful than any yet built and will be strong enough to create subatomic particles in a vacuum, similar to conditions that may have followed the start of the universe."

The lasers, to be built in the Czech Republic and Romania (and possibly Hungary), will cost about $900 million. It's hoped they'll be online by 2015. According to Businessweek, researchers believe "the power of the light beams could be used to deteriorate the radioactivity of nuclear waste in just a few seconds and target cancerous tumors, the projects's Romanian coordinator Nicolae-Victor Zamfir said in an interview."

(H/T to NPR.org's Wright Bryan.)

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Lawsuit Will Decide Who Owns 'Star Trek' Language Klingon

Paramount Pictures holds the copyright to Klingon, spoken by some characters in "Star Trek." The Language Creation Society is arguing Klingon is a real language, and is therefore not copyrightable.
NPR

Germany's Beer Purity Law Is 500 Years Old. Is It Past Its Sell-By Date?

For centuries, German law has stipulated that beer can only be made from four ingredients. But as Germany embraces craft beer, some believe the law impedes good brewing.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - April 29, 2016

Kojo reviews Maryland's primary results and what they mean for the region and November's elections. The Supreme Court hears arguments in the case of Virginia's former governor. And a major funder of youth programs in the District is bankrupt.

NPR

Join Us At Noon Today For An #AirbnbWhileBlack Twitter Chat

Today, Code Switch's Gene Demby and Hidden Brain's Shankar Vedantam will be leading a Twitter chat to discuss what it's like to be a person of color participating in the sharing economy.

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