Lasers Tackle Radioactive Waste
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August 14, 2003: Scientists have demonstrated how to use a laser to convert one radioactive isotope into another with a much shorter half-life.



Game and Story Use

  • In science fiction settings, this system could form the basis of a "portable decontaminator", cleansing objects and even regions in fairly short periods of time.
    • There could be autonomous robotic vehicles driving or walking through contaminated areas and gradually cleansing them.
    • Ironically, this kind of technology might encourage nations to use nuclear weapons in wars, since they can still make use of the conquered territory even if they have dropped a nuke on it previously.
  • Used incorrectly, could something like this make an area radioactive?
    • There was a science fiction story where a similar device caused the target to emit at once all radiation that it would normally produce while decaying, with a prototype with a sabotaged timer being used as a murder weapon.
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