Mystery mold: White web-like stuff found growing on nuclear rods

Strange nuclear waste lint might be “biological in nature”.

Savannah River Site scientists are working to identify a strange growth found on racks of spent nuclear fuel collected from foreign governments.

The “white, string-like” material was found among thousands of spent fuel assemblies submerged in deep pools within the site’s L Area, according to a report filed by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, a federal oversight panel.

“The growth, which resembles a spider web, has yet to be characterized, but may be biological in nature,” the report said.

Savannah River National Laboratory collected a small sample in hopes of identifying the mystery lint — and determining whether it is alive.

Credit: io9

Eww. This is very creepy! Sounds like the beginnings of some environmental thriller where we all die. However, it’s possible they are some extremophiles as mentioned in the io9 article. Or, it may not even be alive. We’ll have to see but sounds intriguing.

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  4 comments for “Mystery mold: White web-like stuff found growing on nuclear rods

  1. Massachusetts
    December 16, 2011 at 7:10 PM

    Wow, this is pretty amazing. Assuming it is biological, this really shows that can live almost anywhere. I’m wondering, though, if it could just be inert material, like dust basically, that collected in the tank. But I’m pulling for a biological cause, since that would be really interesting. And yes, thoughts of the zombie apocalypse to come did cross my mind! :)

    • Massachusetts
      December 16, 2011 at 7:11 PM

      oops…”…shows that LIFE can live almost anywhere.”

      Is there a way to edit our posts?

  2. Massachusetts
    December 16, 2011 at 7:40 PM

    Hey, talking about extremophiles, check this out:

    http://discovermagazine.com/2011/oct/13-deepest-animal-unearthed

  3. December 17, 2011 at 12:43 AM

    I would doubt it’s biological. More likely some kind of impurity in the water that built up, but anything is possible.

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