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melb. age article.

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    cheers.

    Radioactive water safe for recycling
    Author: By MELISSA MARINO
    Date: 09/02/2003
    Words: 430
    Publication: The Sunday Age
    Section: News
    Page: 8

    A Melbourne company says it has discovered a way to remove uranium from contaminated water without chemicals in a development that could stop millions of litres of water being wasted.
    Cardia Technologies claims the technology could be used by mines in Australia and overseas to make radioactive water safe for recycling at the site or for release into the environment, rather than it being stored in containment ponds.

    The technology has also been hailed as a treatment for blue-green algae, with the potential to rid waterways of the blooms permanently by destroying the bacteria and removing nutrients that feed it.

    The company also anticipates the system will be deployed to help clean up environmental disasters such as oil spills or uranium leaks. It can also be used to remove cyanide and other metals from water supplies.

    Project development manager Brian Grigg, who has been working in Brisbane for months developing the technology for Waterpower - a subsidiary of Cardia Technologies - said the system had implications for the treatment of radioactive water.

    ``At the moment many mining companies are just building larger and larger tailings and storage dams and the water remains untreated," he said. ``This changes everything . . . we can treat their containment ponds and provide a solution directly onsite so they don't have to keep on expanding or building more tailing spots."

    The new technology works by using electric currents sent through metal conductors that convert the uranium to a solid coagulant separated through filters from the water stream. The electrodes release stable atoms into the water that capture and coagulate the toxic atoms producing a low-volume sludge that rapidly settles and is easily filtered.

    While the focus has been on removing the uranium to make the water safe, research will now be concentrated on re-using the uranium that is recovered.

    Mr Grigg said because the technology was portable it could be deployed rapidly to treat water on-site to a standard fit for recycling or release. He said it was cheaper and more efficient than other systems that used vast quantities of chemicals and produced a lot of sludge.

    Mr Grigg said the technology used no chemicals and, in tests, removed more than 99 per cent of uranium from the water. It could treat between five litres and 500 litres of water a minute.

    Cardia Technologies chairman Pat Volpe said the technology had been successfully trialled, with 100 litres of water a minute having been treated. Negotiations were under way with several companies in Australia and Asia, he said.

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