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

Smithsonian Sets Phasers To Restore On Original Starship Enterprise

The Starship Enterprise — from the original Star Trek series — has gotten a restoration fit for a real life spacecraft. It goes on display this week at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
NPR

Click For Fewer Calories: Health Labels May Change Online Ordering Habits

Will it be a hamburger or hummus wrap for lunch? When customers saw indications of a meal's calorie content posted online, they put fewer calories in their cart, a study finds.
WAMU 88.5

Jonathan Rauch On How American Politics Went Insane

Party insiders and backroom deals: One author on why we need to bring back old-time politics.

NPR

Click For Fewer Calories: Health Labels May Change Online Ordering Habits

Will it be a hamburger or hummus wrap for lunch? When customers saw indications of a meal's calorie content posted online, they put fewer calories in their cart, a study finds.

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