March 26, 2007

Light unto the nations department: Israeli discovery converts dangerous radioactive waste into clean energy

Excerpted from Israel21C:

The laws of conservation of energy and mass say that energy or mass cannot be created or destroyed - only change form. With the help of Russian scientists, Israeli firm Environmental Energy Resources (EER), has taken the laws of science and turned them into a useful invention for mankind - a reactor that converts radioactive, hazardous and municipal waste into inert byproducts such as glass and clean energy.

"In the beginning, nobody believed that we could do it," says Itschak Shrem, chairman of investment company Shrem, Fudim and Keiner representing EER at a press briefing announcing the innovation last week in Tel Aviv.

Shrem, himself an invoker of small miracles through the founding of one of Israel's most lucrative venture capital funds - Polaris (now Pitango) - points to a chunk of black, lava-like rock sitting on the table in front of everyone's coffee cups.

The journalists cautiously eye Shrem as he assures them that the shiny dark material, emitted from EER's pilot waste treatment reactor near Karmiel in the north, is safe to touch.

"It also makes a good recyclable material for building and paving roads," he assures them. Earlier, Shrem told ISRAEL21c that EER can take low-radioactive, medical and municipal solid waste and produce from it clean energy that "can be used for just about anything."

Using a system called plasma gasification melting technology (PGM) developed by scientists from Russia's Kurchatov Institute research center, the Radon Institute in Russia, and Israel's Technion Institute - EER combines high temperatures and low-radioactive energy to transform waste.

Shrem adds that EER's waste disposal rector does not harm the environment and leaves no surface water, groundwater, or soilpollution in its wake. The EER reactor combines three processesinto one solution: it takes plasma torches to break down thewaste; carbon leftovers are gasified and inorganic components are converted to solid waste. The remaining vitrified materialis inert and can be cast into molds to produce tiles, blocks orplates for the construction industry.