Laser at Magurele – funded project record worth 293 million euros – will be 1,000 times more powerful than the most powerful laser in the world that now exists. If the project succeeds, over decades, a laser can do the job a giant particle accelerator. The Geneva has a diameter of 27 kilometers. The laser will fit in a building several hundred feet square.
What could be the laser? ”An interesting application is to succeed in separating the useful uranium useless”, says Nicolae Zamfir, director of the Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering “Horia Hulubei”.Such an outcome would have immediate economic implications.While (an isotope of uranium) is completely useless, uranium-235 (another isotope) is used in reactors to produce electricity, for example.
Separation of uranium useless at useful
Separation may be by laser. Uranium 238 is harder, because it has three extra neutrinos. Thus, it might take a sample from a uranium deposit and laser, could say exactly whether it is worth exploited, depending on the presence of the isotope abundance of 235.
Moreover, the laser could find a way to measure the amount of fuel rods of radioactive material. Now, these bars are changed periodically. At the time of their removal from the production, some bars have long been consumed fuel, while others could be used in a while.
Processing of radioactive waste – a short neutralization time
Laser, however, would have immediate application in the field of nuclear waste. These wastes have a very long time to neutralize, even thousands of years. Therefore, these wastes are kept in huge warehouses and carefully isolated. Laser, researchers can turn, radiation, radioactive nuclei in nuclei with a half-life (meaning offset) less.
In Romania, radioactive waste from the reactor at Magurele stored at Baita Bihor. Dangerous fuel was also transported to Russia. However, countries like Germany, who decided to largely abandon nuclear energy, have thousands of nuclear waste containers to be stored.
A revolution in price – vs. accelerator. laser
Another immediate application would be in medicine. Currently, hospitals money buys protonoterapie accelerators. In short, the machines send a beam of accelerated protons in tissue, in order to destroy the diseased cell accurately without them and the surrounding affected. Such accelerators have migrated from paper into practice, and Siemens to build such machines. University Hospital of Heidelberg, for example, has such a device, simply because the medical facility in Germany and it allows. Unit cost is 100 million dollars.
“It is a price that hospitals in many European countries can afford not and will not decrease significantly over time. Think about it: 100 million dollars for a single hospital. What to speak of Romania? Instead, using laser equipment prices decrease rapidly. A pointer trivial cost tens of thousands of dollars in the 60s, now it’s two lions, “said Zamfir. Also in medicine, lasers could facilitate the production of radioisotopes of great importance in medicine. Radioisotopes (radiopharmaceuticals) are used in medicine, the non-invasive diagnosis and treatment of serious and common diseases like cancer or cardiovascular disease.Medical radioisotope labeled biological molecules are known as “markers” because, given the very small quantities allow us to track certain biological processes.
Radioisotopes for medical use
The most common medical radioisotopes are produced in nuclear reactors. In 2008, the unexpected interruption of the activities of three European reactors produce radioisotopes led the EU to a shortage of radioisotopes for medical use (Molybdenum-99 / technetium-99m).This is applicable and globally, as the largest producer of molybdenum-99, Canadian National Research Universal reactor (NRU), is closed for repairs in May 2009. Therefore, the request could be extremely high and the laser could be Magurele provider such radioisotopes.
Laser acceleration of the talking at first is long-term goal. All long-term, ELI project offers hope to solve one of the largest remaining 11 unsolved mysteries in modern physics: the production of heavy elements heavier than iron in the universe.
What is ELI-NP
Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) is a project developed in three EU countries: Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania.
The Czech project will be implemented (pillar) called Beam Lines. ”We are talking about secondary beam applications,” says Nicolae Zamfir.When the laser interacts with matter to produce X-rays, for example.Czech project will have applications in materials research and life sciences.
In Hungary, the project called “Attosecond Facility”. Hungarian Researchers develop laser specifically to obtain and study very short beams. More specifically, talk beam whose duration is measured in atosecunde. A atosecundă is a unit for a billion billion times smaller than the second.
“The dynamics observed by the cellular level, with successive chance to take pictures during this process,” says Professor Zamfir.Immediate applications of the project will target Hungarian study materials and medicine.
Project in Romania is called ELI-NP. NP stands for Nuclear Physics (Nuclear Physics). Powerful laser will operate on electrons and ions of a material, these particles will be accelerated to nearly the speed of light.
From Czech Republic and Hungary, where studies will be made solely on visible light, in Romania we have both visible light and invisible light. More specifically, we talk about gamma rays, which are high frequency electromagnetic waves produced by interactions between subatomic particles, such as the radioactive decay or collision and annihilation of a pair electron – positron. Based on these rays, diagnostic methods have been developed in different conditions, one of the most interesting extension helping to diagnose cancer in the body. However, rays are so powerful that they can divide, “break” the DNA molecule, the long exposure.
How and why Romania was chosen
First, it should be noted that ELI is a project that provides a great opportunity for researchers from EU Member States in Central and Eastern Europe. But. Institute of Magurele present many advantages in the fight for funding and implementation.
The first laser operation made the IFA (Institute of Physics – the old name of institute) dates from 1962. Five years before this event, Magurele was commissioned first research reactor and first cyclotron in Romania. Production of radioisotopes, one of the goals ELI-NP, is an activity that it carries the Institute since 1974. In the same year, the institute was equipped with an accelerator and a radioactive waste processing center.
In 2000, together with two other European countries opened a center in Magurele multipurpose irradiation, the project is called IRASM.
How powerful is the laser
7-8 years ago, the European Union began to conduct discussions for developing a laser to 1,000 times more powerful than what existed at that time. Today, lasers in the world situation has changed a lot. It is still working on the terawaţilor (terawatt is a unit with a capacity of one billion kilowatts), while the desired building Magurele, the final version of a few hundred laser petawaţi. A pettawat terawaţi equals 1,000.
“It was found that up to several hundred petawaţi is too high. So he decided a two-step development,” said Zamfir. So, first, the two lasers will be built Magurele tens of petawaţi and will be studied best way to synchronize them. Then many will be synchronized lasers, and power will get hundreds of petawaţi, ELI-NP target.
- White Paper project was submitted in 2010
- The project was evaluated by Jaspers, a support institution to obtain EU funding
- Jaspers gave the OK project, qualifying it for funding by the EBRD and the EC. It happens in the summer of 2011
- Technical project, completed in December 2011
- Start of construction, planned for autumn 2012
- Completion, planned for autumn 2014
- First stage of the research infrastructure in 2015
- Operational in December 2016
Financing the project is 293 million euros. 17% of this amount comes from the state budget, the rest are European money.
Project in Romania
, romania laser
, Uranium 238