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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

Chinese Dissident Artist Ai Weiwei Restricted To 20-Day U.K. Visa

Ai says he was denied a six-month visa because U.K. officials said he didn't list a criminal conviction in his application. Ai was imprisoned in China, but he notes he was never charged with a crime.
NPR

Humans Aren't The Only Ones To Go Ape Over Diets: Chimps Detox, Too

A group of Ugandan chimps has found a great way to boost their mineral intake and neutralize bitter compounds in their diet: by eating clay.
WAMU 88.5

The Politics Hour - July 31, 2015

Join us for our weekly review of the politics, policies, and personalities of the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

NPR

Debris Found In The Indian Ocean May Be From Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

Investigators believe a piece of debris found on the French island of RĂ©union in the Indian Ocean could be from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in March 2014.

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