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Microbes Produce Power As They Clean Nuclear Waste

samzenpus posted about 3 years ago | from the two-in-one dept.

Power 90

An anonymous reader writes "Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have isolated and explained the phenomenon that causes microbes to generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste. The team is hoping to use their findings to create a microbial fuel cell that is capable of generating renewable energy while it cleans up environments exposed to nuclear waste. The bacteria the team studied is a kind of geobacter that is covered in a coat of tiny, natural nanowires that protect the bacteria from the toxic materials. While completing the complex task of stabilizing radioactive spills, the bacteria simultaneously creates energy that can be harnessed and used as a zero-emissions power supply."

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Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (-1, Flamebait)

Mensa Babe (675349) | about 3 years ago | (#37336292)

Before anyone has a knee-jerk reaction and says that it is bad because it's about nuclear power and genetically modified life forms, let me summarise for you the most important result of this research in the most straightforward way possible:

nuclear energy + genetic engineering + nanoparticles = clean planet

Now, if those so called environmentalist are really fighting for cleaner planet and healthy energy then they must support this technology. If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe. Anyone who is truly concerned about our environment must admit that there is no cleaner energy source then nuclear and using genetically modified microbes to clean up the nuclear waste is the last nail to the coffin of the opposition to the use of nuclear energy. I don't care about CO2 because this is what plants are breathing, and quite frankly I'd prefer having a little bit warmer climate, but I do care about polution and using clean, not necessarily renewable, energy sources is the answer to that problem.

This is an example of great research. I am proud that it was all done by a team of female researchers.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | about 3 years ago | (#37336360)

If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe.

You're forgetting about Hanlon's Razor.

The larger concern I have here -- a position taken that anyone in disagreement must be duplicitous, without even allowing an opposing argument to be first presented, is no way to have a serious discussion.

This is, indeed, great research. Why muddy the waters with a bunch of flamebaiting?

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336426)

niggers

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (-1, Offtopic)

davester666 (731373) | about 3 years ago | (#37336922)

Hitler-lover!

despite your uid, you must be new here (3, Insightful)

mevets (322601) | about 3 years ago | (#37336440)

This is slashdot, and using a topic to pursue your own agenda is part of what makes this a shitty experience.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (2, Funny)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37336764)

And pursuing that shitty experience is why we're here. Well, maybe you. I'm in it for the chicks. Chicks dig my slashdot cred.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336956)

And pursuing that shitty experience is why we're here. Well, maybe you. I'm in it for the chicks. Chicks dig my slashdot cred.

riiight..... Tell that to Mensa Babe. You can have it tattooed on your 'nads and wave it in front of her super-IQ.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (0)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37337264)

Ooh. I've gained a stalker. This is a rare privilege. Do they pay you extra for that? I haven't had a slashdot stalker in years. Tell me about yourself.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337024)

just because you didn't get laid before you had excellent karma doesn't mean that it happened because of that.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (-1, Offtopic)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37337154)

This is probably a difficult time to remind you ACs of facts you would know if you were regulars here, or at least subscribers who could read past comments. I have five kids and an adorable grandson. Each of them expresses themselves better than you do, and knows to capitalize the first word of a sentence.

We are working on recognizing a joke when they see it. I can't be sure, but I think even the toddler is ahead of you on that one.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (1)

RoFLKOPTr (1294290) | about 3 years ago | (#37374984)

We are working on recognizing a joke when they see it. I can't be sure, but I think even the toddler is ahead of you on that one.

I bet the toddler's ahead of you on that one, too.

Re:despite your uid, you must be new here (2, Funny)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 3 years ago | (#37339252)

Chicks dig my slashdot cred.

Same here. They're always asking me to fix their computer, carry their things, listen to them complain about their boyfriends....

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (2)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 3 years ago | (#37336568)

If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe.

You're forgetting about Hanlon's Razor.

Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity

You're forgetting about Grey's Law.

Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.

If they're vocal and annoying enough, does it matter if the cause is through ignorance or intent?

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336692)

So I guess this is a good time to mention Hitler?

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 3 years ago | (#37337130)

Thanks. Indeed, this thread is annoying, thanks for stopping it :-)

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37339282)

+1: Correct application of Godwin's Law :)

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

cduffy (652) | about 3 years ago | (#37336712)

If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe.

If they're vocal and annoying enough, does it matter if the cause is through ignorance or intent?

It matters for purposes of discussing motivations.

If one doesn't care about motivations, one need not discuss them.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37338474)

And why do you feed the trolls?

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336368)

This is an example of great research. I am proud that it was all done by a team of female researchers.

Proud because possessing a vagina limits scientific prowess? Or proud because they scored one for team vagina?

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (3, Funny)

lucm (889690) | about 3 years ago | (#37336858)

> Proud because possessing a vagina limits scientific prowess?

Proud because a team of female researchers is half the price, so it is not only a scientific achievement, but also an economical one.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337084)

My vote is that the source of her pride results from the perception of a Team Vagina Victory.

In support of my vote consider that, from the about me section on her journal page, Mensa Babe states "I am a proud member of MENSA [mensa.org]", and then promptly states "I hate sexiest [sic] men, who are afraid of intelligent women."

I think the misuse of the word "sexiest" wrt to sexist men negates the Team Vagina Victory and disqualifies her from MENSA.

Unless she was MENStruating at the time she wrote it.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

kaliann (1316559) | about 3 years ago | (#37339502)

Yes, of course, because typos and misspellings are a female problem just like bloodstains.
One simply cannot believe that a MENSA member might make a typo or not proofread something they wrote.

Do you really think this person doesn't know the difference between sexist and sexiest? (Both of which will not be caught by a spell checker, since they are correctly spelled words.)

BTW I would guess the source of pride is the simple visibility of a contribution to science made by a female team, as "hard science" is traditionally male dominated. It's good to see everyone getting involved: if more capable people work on problems, more solutions will result. Historical exclusion of women reduced the pool of potential scientists to draw from. This is better.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336436)

. I am proud that it was all done by a team of female researchers.

Personally I'm just proud of it.

It could have been done by nazi pedophile devil beasts and I would still have been proud of the research.

Them being females neither adds nor takes away from their results. Because this is science and it doesn't matter who does it.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

lucm (889690) | about 3 years ago | (#37336848)

> It could have been done by nazi pedophile devil beasts and I would still have been proud of the research.

But what if it was female nazis? (I'm pretty sure nazis had females too, someone had to sew all those swastikas.)

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 3 years ago | (#37337142)

It could have been done by nazi pedophile devil beasts and I would still have been proud of the research.

Indeed, nazis such as Dr Mengele did lots of medical research whose results are still useful today!

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337814)

Yes, they did. And the research is widely known. No one cites their work though.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

lucm (889690) | about 3 years ago | (#37336804)

> Anyone who is truly concerned about our environment must admit that there is no cleaner energy source then nuclear

Great statement, a nice way to open the door to discussion. Reminds me of GWB: "You're either with us, or against us".

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (2)

bennomatic (691188) | about 3 years ago | (#37336946)

nuclear energy + genetic engineering + nanoparticles = clean planet

Yes. Maybe a little *too* clean. In other words, I, for one, welcome our new nuclear-fed, genetic engineered nano particle overlords.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

ArsenneLupin (766289) | about 3 years ago | (#37336976)

If they oppose it, then it is a clear proof that their motivations are not as clear as they wish us to believe.

Or, more probably, they don't believe your formula, and are wary of hidden snags.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37337094)

99.999999999% and then some of all the life forms on Earth are bacteria. Assuming you're human, the bacteria in your own body outnumber the not-bacteria cells more than 100:1.

The bacteria own the the biosphere, from the highest reaches of the atmosphere to miles beneath the surface. The mass of bacteria outweigh all of the algae in the seas, plus all the trees, plus every other plant and animal living by 10x. Even if you break those down into individual cells, bacteria outnumber those cells by 10:1.

The bacteria control the absorptoin of CO2, the temperature and the flow of ice

We deem ourselves the masters of this world when it is only a lease, let for the nonce. Unless we 'scape this world we are no better than our single-celled brethren, and share their fate.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37339228)

You nuke fetishists are predictably absolutist. "Then they must support this technology" is the knee-jerk bottom line of all you nuke fetishists, no matter what the new nuke technology announced.

You're also completely crazy, "Mensa (insecure and medium IQ) Babe". You don't care about CO2 because plants breathe it, and you want climate change, but you're more enviro than thou?

I'm sure you've been corrected many times before. Just shut up already. Your privilege of posting in public doesn't entitle you to yammer like a moron. It does require you listen to what people say when you do it. Shut up.

Re:Nuclear Power + Genetic Modifications (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37340758)

I'm sure you've been corrected many times before. Just shut up already. Your privilege of posting in public doesn't entitle you to yammer like a moron. It does require you listen to what people say when you do it. Shut up.

I don't want to be rude but she isn't like TALKING you know. If you don't wanna read her posts then like STOP READING THEM? If you don't want to even see her posts then just add her to your foes list, add -6 comment modifier like i did and get over it. Here [slashdot.org] 's how you do it. Its very simple and you wont ever see even her +5 posts ever again. Problem solved. No need to be a jerk. Unless your just trolling and you WANT to read her posts only to disagree with her because it makes you feel more macho or something...

Almost there... (3, Funny)

wsxyz (543068) | about 3 years ago | (#37336294)

Now if we can only find a bacterium that converts sunlight into nuclear waste we'll have near infinite clean energy!

Re:Almost there... (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 3 years ago | (#37336432)

Its called Algae and can be used to convert sunlight into biodiesel.

Re:Almost there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336456)

whoosh!

Re:Almost there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336600)

since when is biodiesel considered nuclear waste?

Re:Almost there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337432)

Hell yeah!
Throw some Algae into the desert on some slightly angled, corrugated tin with collection nozzles at the ends... nearly unlimited fuel!
Unless there is something else involved in the process...

Re:Almost there... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336728)

so find a way to transport nuclear waste via photons

Re:Almost there... (1)

Coren22 (1625475) | about 3 years ago | (#37357134)

Where do you think all those nuclear products came from? We are all stardust :)

Hmmm..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336304)

So, feeding microbes mutagenic nuclear waste. What could possibly go wrong?

Re:Hmmm..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336334)

So, feeding microbes mutagenic nuclear waste. What could possibly go wrong?

You forgot that those are genetically modified microbes.

Re:Hmmm..... (1, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | about 3 years ago | (#37336408)

All microbes are genetically modified. The process is called natural selection.

Re:Hmmm..... (4, Funny)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 3 years ago | (#37336358)

A rat teaches them martial arts?

Re:Hmmm..... (1)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | about 3 years ago | (#37336624)

This made me laugh out loud and startle my sleeping wife beside me.

Well done indeed.

Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336330)

The rain was getting harder. It was now precisely 11:51 PM, and Mark was into his fifth beer. He was feeling pretty invincible but the night was young, and he intended to get wasted before it was all over. He had put in a rough week at work and he deserved it.

He lit another cigarette. He and his drinkin' buddies sat in their traditional circle, in Ian's apartment. The talk wandered from sex to work, back to sex, to basketball, finally settling on sex. Mark had eaten lunch at Taco Bell, and had drunk four cups of coffee between lunchtime and quitting. In addition, the beers were beginning to settle in. And now, at 11:51 PM, Mark had to take a shit. He stood up. "Shit break," he announced. It was customary among this group to make such an announcement.

Mark walked to the bathroom. As he locked the door behind him, thunder boomed. It was storming out there.

He pulled his pants down and sat on the toilet. Ian's bathroom was a mess. He counted five empty toilet paper rolls, two paperbacks, and yesterday's newspaper. His friends laughed about something. The lights flickered for a moment, and the pre-shit growl came from within. He could feel the product lined up inside him for disposal. Then, he began to push.

Plop. The first piece fell to the water. Then some movement, and Mark felt the main feature inside him, the mother lode. He grunted softly as he squeezed it out. It crackled past his sphincter, and splashed neatly into the bowl.

Then another one queued up, and came out. It was almost as big as its predecessor. Mark would have well-purged bowels tonight, he realized with a smirk. He heard thunder again, closer this time.

Another one? Jeez, he thought. When was my last shit? It ventured forth, Mark's muscles helping it out. It was the biggest one so far. The shit's passage through his anus, that rarest mix of pain and pleasure, was longer than any he could remember. Ahhhh...the stout log advanced with conviction. This was definitely going to be his finest creation; this was a huge one. Still grinning, he wondered if Ian had a camera.

He pushed. Peering between his legs, past his genitals, he saw that it had reached the water. This was like seeing the longest freight train ever. Damn, it was a wide one. And it was still attached! And there was more! He pushed more, harder. It kept coming. He couldn't even feel the end of this one yet; soon it was bending, folding on itself like a sundae topping. Mark stopped pushing and caught his breath. He was sweating; he realized that however long this piece of shit was, it wasn't nearly all the way out yet. He still couldn't feel the end.

He pushed, he strained, it kept coming. His intestines couldn't be that damn long, but this shit just wouldn't quit. In fact, he was feeling the diarrhoeal urgency of *having* to shit. He dutifully answered nature's call, and pushed harder. His efforts were rewarded with more shit. His sphincter was too strained to even pinch the loaf off. It was whole and complete.

He couldn't feel the end.

Fear now came to Mark. He flushed the toilet to make room for more. Even as the bowl refilled, the cramps rose up, and he pushed. Within seconds, the shit extended from his anus to bottom of the bowl. The harder he pushed, the more he had to shit. And it was getting worse. He scarcely had time to catch his breath; his face was quite red as he grunted and struggled to keep up. The shit seemed endless. He looked between his legs again, and gasped as he saw that the bowl was fully a quarter filled with his product, the water dangerously high. The tank wasn't even done filling, but he flushed again. Unfortunately, the plumbing was unable to handle the volume of feces, and the toilet backed up. Mark jumped when the cold water touched his buttocks.

It was now 11:57. Thunder roared outside as water and shit particles flowed onto the tile.

Mark's pants were bunched about his ankles, and he was in pain. The shit advanced relentlessly as he stumbled into the bathtub. He was almost panicking now, and didn't notice the trail of solid feces he had left. Gripping the tub for support, he squatted and kept pushing.

The conversation in the front room had stopped. Eddie smelled it first, and blamed a fart on Ian, but this was no fart. This was pure and concentrated; this was the smell that only the freshest shit can make. The four looked at each other, puzzled. Then they heard Mark's groaning from the bathroom.

"Mark, are you beating off again?" Doug asked. No answer.

The smell was worse. Brian sniffed deeply and gagged. "Jesus H. ...". Ian grimaced. "Goddamn...". They all went for the bathroom door at the same time. Ian jiggled the locked doorknob. Brian pounded on the door. "Dude, what the FUCK did you eat today?" No answer. Mark groaned. "You all right in there, Mark?"

They looked at each other again. Eddie sniffed and winced. There was no answer from inside. Brian knocked again. "Hey man, you OK?" No answer. A short scream came from within the bathroom.

Brian kicked the door open. Nobody spoke.

The odor was intense, feces was piled on the floor and in the bathtub. Mark was squatting next to the wall, his face impossibly red, his eyes helpless and terrified. Firm stool thrust forward from his anus like meat from a grinder. It landed in his pants bunched about his ankles, spilling over and piling up. He gritted his teeth and strained; all he could do was keep pushing. There was a sound like a ripping sheet and Mark's colon came loose from his now shapeless sphincter, oozing to the floor. His friends watched as the slimy organ descended, with shit still flowing from it. Mark screamed again, and somebody's watch beeped.

Brian got the worst of it, since he was closest to the door. He would later tell the police that he thought he had seen Mark's abdomen expand for an instant before it happened. None of the others had reported this. But they had all described the sound as a "dull thud", they had all been splattered with innards and feces as Mark's torso separated from the rest of his body.

"Massive gastrointestinal rupture/trauma secondary to indeterminate blockage" was noted in the medical examiner's report. An "unusually large amount of fecal matter" is also recorded, though the amount was not measured.

The funeral was closed-casket. Brian and Eddie seem to have recovered pretty well, though they never talk about Mark. Doug moved away, and nobody has heard from him lately. Sometimes, when he has to shit, Ian waits until the rain stops.

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336446)

What The F?

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 years ago | (#37336818)

I kind of liked the setting of the story being a,(wait for it), "dark and stormy night..."

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336470)

I'm always impressed by the quality of the writing in these sorts of things. It's honestly inspiring because I know anyone who would seemingly waste such talent on anonymous shit stories must find better outlets for their abilities. I hope you are creating something that makes the world a better place, you can.
   

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336528)

Holy Crap -- 42 x 10

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336594)

This would have almost fitted into the beginning of a "Six Feet Under" episode.

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (0)

symbolset (646467) | about 3 years ago | (#37336870)

I have modpoints. I want to mod you up for an artful dissonance. But this work is worth far more than that, so instead I'll come here in my right nym and say: "recommended" because I think that is worth more. It's disgusting, vile, and recommended. Art like this is never off-topic. But now I need a shower to feel clean.

Re:Slashdot presents: The Unholy Shit (1)

mbstone (457308) | about 3 years ago | (#37337332)

I also have modpoints and would also mod you artfully dissonant. Send it to Hustler Magazine with an SASE and see if they buy it. And work on your standup routine.

renewable energy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336342)

How is this renewable energy??? is there a constant influx of nuclear waste?? oh yes there is... sorry, my bad

The power is chemical (3, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | about 3 years ago | (#37336354)

Note that what is going on is essentially chemical, not nuclear. That is, the bacteria are getting energy out by chemical processes of elements that happen to be radioactive. If one had a sample of pure uranium 238 (which is radioactive but only a tiny bit so, with a very very long halflife) these bacteria would act identically. And if one could magically make uranium not radioactive the behavior of these bacteria would not change at all.

Re:The power is chemical (1)

the_other_chewey (1119125) | about 3 years ago | (#37336572)

Yep - that's the problem with nuclear waste material: Putting them into different
molecules doesn't make the atoms less radioactive. Only time (or, in some very
specific cases, neutron irradiation) will do that.

What this does is turning radioactive waste into living radioactive waste...

Re:The power is chemical (3, Insightful)

tinkerton (199273) | about 3 years ago | (#37336684)

What this does is turning radioactive waste into living radioactive waste...
It's better than that. While the value of the bacteria generating energy seems utterly irrelevant, the bacteria do provide opportunities to concentrate the nuclear material , in other words, to remove it from the environment, and that's valuable. And maybe there is some minor value in the energy part, it could be a measure of activity.

Re:The power is chemical (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | about 3 years ago | (#37336698)

How it behaves. from TFA

“Our findings clearly identify nanowires as being the primary catalyst for uranium reduction.They are essentially performing nature’s version of electroplating with uranium, effectively immobilizing the radioactive material and preventing it from leaching into groundwater,” said Gemma Reguera a MSU microbiologist.

The bacteria take uranium out of solution and turn it into nanowires outside their outer membrane. They have tested it outside in a uranium mine tailings pile. The goal is to build a bacterial water treatment cell that produces electricity while it filters out dissolved uranium.

This is not for generating power, the energy produced is a by-product. I doubt that the resultant energy would pay for it's own production. However, the electricity could be used to help pump water through the system, which is a neat trick and will help to reduce cleanup costs.

Re:The power is chemical (1)

Doubting Sapien (2448658) | about 3 years ago | (#37337078)

This is not for generating power, the energy produced is a by-product. I doubt that the resultant energy would pay for it's own production. However, the electricity could be used to help pump water through the system, which is a neat trick and will help to reduce cleanup costs.

I very much doubt it would be even worth that much. The article source(s) are very scant on details, but one of the many tricky aspects of constructing any microbial battery is engineering a system that would effectively and efficiently separate charges in a way that can be usefully harnessed. But even if they should solve the problem of developing good cathode/anode pairs, the conditions these bugs are expected to work under would not be expected to approach a remotely useful energy density.

Re:The power is chemical (1)

toQDuj (806112) | about 3 years ago | (#37337350)

so when the concentration of bacteria becomes too high, they become supercritical and will explode? nice..

Re:The power is chemical (1)

Scottingham (2036128) | about 3 years ago | (#37339688)

Seriously?

If they could enrich the uranium as well, that'd be quite a feat. Somehow I doubt that the bacterium would make their own tiny centrifuges though...

Re:The power is chemical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37340130)

a centrifuge wouldn't be absolutely necessary for enrichment. Biology can manipulate molecules individually. This would mean they could theoretically be engineered to allow one form or uranium to pass and the more desirable plutonium and uranium to be coalesced into nano-wires. Then you have a secondary tank where you collect the other radioactives to prevent killing everything around and you have a practical enrichment.

That being said biology could never be made to condense enough to go super-critical without an external force.

Re:The power is chemical (1)

smithmc (451373) | about 3 years ago | (#37345432)

Seriously? If they could enrich the uranium as well, that'd be quite a feat. Somehow I doubt that the bacterium would make their own tiny centrifuges though...

Maybe U-235 tastes better than U-238...

Re:The power is chemical (1)

RespekMyAthorati (798091) | about 3 years ago | (#37342446)

so when the concentration of bacteria becomes too high, they become supercritical and will explode?

No, they just form into a giant fire-breathing lizard.

Re:The power is chemical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37343586)

no, there isn't enough U-235 for that. There was 2 billion years ago, check out the Oklo reactor XD

Pointless link (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336420)

The Inhabitat article adds nothing to the MSU article. Why is it in the OP?

Microbe Matrix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336608)

Reminds me of the movie Matrix in which human were generating energy for the machines..We may not be far from there now :)

Re:Microbe Matrix (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 3 years ago | (#37337310)

It was a ridiculous idea.

Sounds labor intensive (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336644)

Hooking up wires to millions of tiny bacteria is going to take a lot of time.

free energy (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 3 years ago | (#37336680)

just add nuclear waste

The Japanese Miracle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336724)

GiTS fans know what I'm talking about.

Re:The Japanese Miracle? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37336758)

GiTS fans know what I'm talking about.

I immediately thought of this. One of the best shows ever.

Nuke Mars (1)

Xaide (1015779) | about 3 years ago | (#37336784)

I guess it's time to nuke mars and infect the tires of the next rover with these things.

Possibly a Filter Method for Radio Active Waste? (2)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 3 years ago | (#37336864)

FTFA, “Our findings clearly identify nanowires as being the primary catalyst for uranium reduction.They are essentially performing nature’s version of electroplating with uranium, effectively immobilizing the radioactive material and preventing it from leaching into groundwater,”

The biggest bleeding hemorrhoid of New Clear Power is the Radio Waste. Filter the radio active part away from the trash, and the trash can recycled. The Radio Active Waste part can then be recombined into something else that is useful. I was thinking of expensive blast furnaces with a combination of fractionating columns. But if some type of Bacteria can do the job, all be it one atom at a time, then my giant blast furnace patent could be in real jeopardy. So this now begs the question, how could one test it? Maybe a road trip to Chernobyl?

Now if only.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337056)

Now if only people would shoot themselves in their foot, and be sacrificial fodder for the greater good, we could force them to spend exorbitant amounts of their dollars into making nanowires, improved syntheic bacteria based on the ones the researchers used.

Why aren't anyone shooting their own foot for the greater good?!! People are so selfish.

BTW I won't shoot my own foot because I genuinely need it. So don't blame me. There are people who can afford to shoot themselves in the foot. Ask them to pay for it. Or better, let us force them to pay for it.

WRONG : it does not "clean up nuclear waste" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37337322)

The aim here is only to chemically transform the uranium molecule, to a form where it's unable to bind to water.
So it only stops quick spreading.
- it does not transform(transmute) the U. atom
- it does not remove the radioactivity
- it does not remove or concentrate the already spread uranium : you cannot cleat it
- the effect is (i suppose, chimists may confirm) only temporary. U. needs millions of years to loose radioactivity

Furthermore, while U. is a big problem around old uranium mines (steriles), the biggest problem is waste that comes out from nuclear reactors, which includes nearly all elements of the mendeleiev table, in various radioactive forms. That is not possible to clean up.

Uranium (2)

nojayuk (567177) | about 3 years ago | (#37337836)

Uranium generally isn't a problem in radioactive spills or contamination. It's not particularly biotoxic as a metal or oxide and with very long half-lives for the two most common isotopes (U-235's half-life is 700 million years and for U-238 it's 4.5 billion years) it's not even very radioactive by itself. Most uranium ore bodies contain a lot of decay products like radium, thorium, polonium etc. which have built up over millions or billions of years and these are exposed to the wider environment when the uranium ore is mined and refined. A method of concentrating and sequestering such short-halflife isotopes from mine tailings would be more useful than this biological method which only, it seems, concentrates uranium. Right now the Japanese would really like a variant that, say, concentrated cesium in a similar manner as Cs-134 and Cs-137 are 99.9% of the contamination problem in the area around Fukushima.

It might be this particular form of the bacteria could be better used to extract uranium from lesser ore bodies or even seawater where it is present in quantities of about 3 tonnes per cubic kilometre but right now and for the next fifty years or more uranium ore is plentiful enough that the costs of such marginal operations would outweigh the value of uranium metal (currently trading on world markets for 60 dollars a kilo) extracted by them.

Of course uranium has a scary reputation -- see this [news-journalonline.com] news report for an example. Further comments suggest the uranium in question was 500 milligrammes of yellowcake in a sealed vial, a gift from a friend studying chem eng who had prepared it from ore found in New Mexico (just lying about out in the open! Horrors!).

Re:Uranium (1)

trout007 (975317) | about 3 years ago | (#37338462)

To prove your point where did the uranium come from in the first place? It came from whatever past supernovas made up the dust and gas that made up our solar system. So it has at least been around at least 5 billion years maybe more. Like you said it is the radiation that is the problem and having such a long half life is good. I means every once in a while it decays and the radiation is very little compared with background radiation. The short half life stuff on the order of days and weeks isn't that bad either because it can easily be contained during the time it takes to decay enough to become safe. The problem is the stuff you mentioned like Cs-137 that have fairly long half lives of 30 years. Also it has a beta and gamma decay until it's stable so the radiation isn't blocked by your skin. So this means it puts out a good bit of radiation for about as long as a human life which is why it's so bad.

You all know the drill (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 3 years ago | (#37338322)

1. Wacky new source of power reported that will POWER ALL THE THINGS!
2. Never heard about again
3. "What ever happened to that what's it called? The thing? The- ah, never mind..."

You go gerl! (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | about 3 years ago | (#37338924)

Reguera has filed patents to build on her research, which could lead to the development of microbial fuel cells capable of generating electricity while cleaning up after environmental disasters.

Way to speed up the process of building tools to protect people from disasters!

Woman Powered (2)

Doc Ruby (173196) | about 3 years ago | (#37339190)

This is excellent research. I noticed in the picture of the MSU research team [msu.edu] that they're all women. I hope they can inspire more women to join the scientific research community. We need more people in it, and women are the majority of people. Without getting closer to 50:50 gender parity, we're losing the talent and hard work of a large fraction of the people pool we need to draw from. More role models will get more women to follow suit, just as they do for men.

Re:Woman Powered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37345640)

Mod parent troll. So fat I haven't seen in weeks.

Could this explain "Cold Fusion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37339314)

Could this explain the "Cold Fusion" results?

Re:Could this explain "Cold Fusion" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37340796)

I'd tell you to ask us a dumber question, but there's a remote chance one does exist, and if so, you'd clearly find it.

The answer is no, and you'd have to be incredibly stupid to think it might. The massive stupidity required to believe "the 'cold fusion' results" means anything pales in comparison.

Hmmm... (1)

ad1217 (2418196) | about 3 years ago | (#37339578)

Not entirely sure I understand it, but does this mean they can clean up depleted uranium/ nuclear waste? That would be awesome.

Eureka! (1)

memorycardfull (1187485) | about 3 years ago | (#37340114)

The scientific inaccuracies in the summation and the article are the result of OP posting a science article from an design fetishist SEO content farm site. Hard to get the science right when you are masturbating to "100 Danish Pendant Lamps"...

Terraforming (1)

HTH NE1 (675604) | about 3 years ago | (#37342738)

We must make sure we keep this out of enemy hands. The Daleks could reclaim their planet Skaro from the Thals with this technology.

Cool! (1)

hesaigo999ca (786966) | about 3 years ago | (#37344132)

nuff said!

For your enjoyment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 years ago | (#37344244)

http://geobacter.org/

Derek Lovely, the guy who found this bug, lab's website.

Japanese Miracle in action... (1)

loimprevisto (910035) | about 3 years ago | (#37349760)

Proof that we're living in The Future. Ghost in the Shell fans will recognize the Japanese Miracle [wikipedia.org] in action. The '30s should be an interesting decade...

Looks good (1)

raymorphic (2461142) | about 3 years ago | (#37417354)

Hoping good results coming out.
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