Rutgers University announced Monday that a team of university scientists had isolated a strain of bacteria that “breathes” uranium, which may make it invaluable in decontaminating groundwater at sites like uranium mills where radioactive material was processed for nuclear weapons… Scientists know little about how these organisms behave in the environment. But Lee Kerkhof, a professor of marine and coastal sciences in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, said that he is optimistic the discovery can have beneficial uses. “There is depleted uranium in a lot of armor-piercing munitions, so places like the Middle East that are experiencing war could be exposed to high levels of uranium in groundwater,” he said… “After the newly discovered bacteria interact with uranium compounds in water, the uranium becomes immobile. It is no longer dissolved in the groundwater and therefore can’t contaminate drinking water brought to the surface,” Kerkhof said in a statement.
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