Popular Science

A microscopic fungus could mop up our Cold War-era nuclear waste

This hardcore yeast thrives amidst acid and radiation.

Yeast

This strain of the yeast Rhodotorula taiwanensis could one day help clean up radioactive waste

USU

During the Cold War, the United States produced a truly mind-boggling amount of radioactive waste. We failed to properly dispose of much of that sludge, and it's been leaking from underground storage tanks since the 1950s. Over the years it has contaminated more than 2 billion cubic feet worth of soil and nearly 800 billion gallons of groundwater at low levels.

Cleaning this mess up will be , but January 8 in the journal . What’s more, they form gunk called biofilms that could potentially trap the waste.

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