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Earth Japan Technology

Cleaning Up Japan's Radioactive Mess With Blue Goo 102

InfiniteZero writes "A clever technology is helping hazmat crews in Japan contain and clean up the contamination caused by the ongoing nuclear disaster there: a blue liquid that hardens into a gel that peels off of surfaces, taking microscopic particles like radiation and other contaminants with it. Known as DeconGel, Japanese authorities are using it inside and outside the exclusion zone on everything from pavement to buildings."
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Cleaning Up Japan's Radioactive Mess With Blue Goo

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  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Funny)

    by DWMorse ( 1816016 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @12:38AM (#36277698) Homepage
    What? How will Repulsion Gel help us clean up Japan? It hardly worked at ALL for Aperture Labs.
    • by Burdell ( 228580 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @12:51AM (#36277774)

      I would sure hate to be the test case here. Poor guy got a bucket of blue paint; now he glows in the dark. Never has a problem finding his keys though.

      • and everybody can tell where's he has been and what he has been touching...

        • by Anonymous Coward

          ...why is my wife glowing?

        • I would sure hate to be the test case here. Poor guy got a bucket of blue paint; now he glows in the dark. Never has a problem finding his keys though.

          and everybody can tell where's he has been and what he has been touching...

          Sounds like a...PAINT analogy... for how today's social media sites bait and use us afterwards.

      • I would sure hate to be the test case here. Poor guy got a bucket of blue paint; now he glows in the dark. Never has a problem finding his keys though.

        The uh, control group for the repulsion gel actually got a pair of broken legs, poor bugger.

      • by antdude ( 79039 )

        No. They formed a musical art performance group called Blue Man Group []

    • My kids are all excited about the latest toy from japan. It is a gel that you can paint on things that makes them glow in the dark. They have already painted their bedroom ceilings, and each other with the stuff. And it's cheap. You can depend on the Japanese to know what kids like...
  • Am I the only one who read the subject as "Blue Glue" and thought 3M's adhesive?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    And who is going to cover EVERYTHING in a few square km with it?
    Also, first post.

    • "Incredibly expensive!"

      What? Nuclear accidents expensive?
      Who would have thought.

      • Right, I always thought it only costs human lives, not real money?

        We've been bullshitted by the nuclear industry again!

    • The article might have oversimplified things but the truth is radionuclides tend to happen in macroscopic clusters - kind of "dust particles". Single pieces of material sometimes almost a milimeter size (more frequently a few microns) often several centimeters apart, They may be ash, may be post-explosion dust, solid particles in smoke and so on that were heavily irradiated and settled away from the plant - and they account for great most of radiation sources in contaminated area.

  • I never knew that radiation was a particle!
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Alpha radiation is helium nuclei. Beta radiation is electrons. Both particles. [ignore the wave/particle duality]

      Gamma is a wave, x-rays are a wave.

      Might want to learn a thing or two.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A knowledge of radiation nature you both have is far from being correct. Radiation is not a substance, it,s not a coat of elementary particles on the surface of an object. Radiation isn't just a word, it's really RADIATION, and it's emitted by the specks of radioactive material that is now distributed over the poor Japan. And this mud is supposed to be gathered by that blue liquid.
        I suggest reading a school textbook or two to both of you.

        • I suggest reading the summary, and the rest of this thread. The argument right here is how it was phrased, which states that the gel cleans up radiation, when it actually means radioactive particles. We all know what it is, we're nitpicking pedantics at the moment.
      • by khallow ( 566160 )

        [ignore the wave/particle duality]

        Which we're not going to do because we're super-macho pedants, right? All of the above particles/waves under certain conditions can act like particles or waves.

    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      That's a direct quote from the article, too -- from Popular Science magazine!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Whenever media talks about "radiation" they actually mean "material containing nuclei that are radioactive".

      But then of course copyright infringement is piracy. And code hackers are criminals... *sigh*

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Said the vendor's president, "we're not banging rocks together down here. We know how to suck radiation out of pavement. We've been testing it out on human subjects for years. Went great. Mostly. The only question we've got for you is, do you want to save the world, or do you want to waste our time with more sissy regulatory paperwork?"

  • is find somewhere to dispose of all the zillions of "blue goo" sheets.

    • Easy, just burn it. That's always safe.
      • You're joking, but I can actually see that happen. Take the radioactive junk, ship it to some place where people would be happy about it (hey, free heat and guess what, the ashes hold the warmth for days!)...

        • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

          He might have been joking been if you noticed the +5, Informative post a bit down from here on the page the used goo can actually be burned. The radioactive particles don't become gaseous but instead remain behind in the ash left behind, so you can just drum and store the much smaller volume of ash instead.

    • is find somewhere to dispose of all the zillions of "blue goo" sheets.

      Weave them into blankets [] and give them to the people of North Korea as aid? Wait... never mind. Kim Jong-il would consider it an endorsement of his nuclear ambitions: "They aided us in our quest to collect radioactive materials, which we took as encouragement to seek more-fissionable materials."

    • by Artemis3 ( 85734 )

      Hmm, didn't Japan announced their new radioactive disposal facility []: Fukushima Daichi?

  • hmm... (Score:3, Funny)

    by DSS11Q13 ( 1853164 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @01:47AM (#36277950)

    there's a Japanese pornography joke in there somewhere...

    • by dintech ( 998802 )

      You probably can't figure out the joke because of the pixelation.

    • I guarantee that within a few weeks, someone will make actual Japanese porn with girls being covered in DeconGel and having it peeled off. Probably by an octopus.

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @01:55AM (#36277976) Homepage

    DeconGel [] is a useful material, typically used for little lab-sized spill cleanup jobs. They're going to need tank truck loads of this stuff.

    This material concentrates contamination, rather than spreading it across wipes, water, and other cleaning agents. The blue gel can even be incinerated in special high-temperature hazardous-waste incinerators; the radioactives end up in the ash, not the gases. So you end up with a modest number of drums of low-level radioactive dirt.

    Perhaps with the need for large quantities of this stuff, the price will come down. If it were cheap, this would be a useful material for routine tough cleaning jobs. It can clean grouted tile, for example. People who have to clean foreclosed houses might find this useful.

  • Silly Putty (Score:3, Funny)

    by Mathinker ( 909784 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @02:07AM (#36277992) Journal

    Is this kind of like Silly Putty [] but the pictures glow in the dark?

  • by Jeremi ( 14640 ) on Sunday May 29, 2011 @02:14AM (#36278018) Homepage

    They should use grey goo instead. That would clean things up even better, and they'd only need to apply a little bit of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 29, 2011 @03:08AM (#36278162)

    This sounds ominously like the stuff the Happy Fun Ball is made of.

            Warning: Pregnant women, the elderly, and children under 10 should avoid prolonged exposure to Happy Fun Ball.
            Caution: Happy Fun Ball may suddenly accelerate to dangerous speeds.
            Happy Fun Ball contains a liquid core, which, if exposed due to rupture, should not be touched, inhaled, or looked at.
            Do not use Happy Fun Ball on concrete.
            Discontinue use of Happy Fun Ball if any of the following occurs:
                    tingling in extremities
                    loss of balance or coordination
                    slurred speech
                    temporary blindness
                    profuse sweating
                    heart palpitations
            If Happy Fun Ball begins to smoke, get away immediately. Seek shelter and cover head.
            Happy Fun Ball may stick to certain types of skin.
            When not in use, Happy Fun Ball should be returned to its special container and kept under refrigeration. Failure to do so relieves the makers of Happy Fun Ball, Wacky Products Incorporated, and its parent company, Global Chemical Unlimited, of any and all liability.
            Ingredients of Happy Fun Ball include an unknown glowing substance which fell to Earth, presumably from outer space.
            Happy Fun Ball has been shipped to our troops in Saudi Arabia and is also being dropped by our warplanes on Iraq.
            Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball.
            Happy Fun Ball comes with a lifetime guarantee.

  • Come on, this is supposed to be a site for smart people....
    • No but to my understanding there are particles that are radioactive as a result. If I recall Chernobyl has a huge issue with radio active particulates getting distributed in the air and people breathing them.
    • by Anonymous Coward


      Yes, it is supposed to be a site for smart people. Please leave.

      The main problem with radioactive contamination is radioactive material such as dust, water and smoke. We're not trying to pick up stray alpha-particles resting on surfaces here.

  • Repultion Gel? (Score:4, Informative)

    by lattyware ( 934246 ) <> on Sunday May 29, 2011 @05:48AM (#36278504) Homepage Journal
    You're not part of the control group, by the way. You get the gel. Chernobyl got blue paint. Hahaha. All joking aside, that did happen - lots of people died. Tragic. But informative. Or so I'm told.
  • they should use blue pork [], solving two problems at once.

  • I wonder if it could be painted on the surface of a room that needs to be decontaminated instead of relying on temperature or an antibacterial agent. The size of a bacteria might be too small though.

  • Its got electrolytes. It's what radiation craves.
  • Here is lots of new blue goo now.
    New goo. Blue goo.
    Gooey. Gooey.
    Blue goo. New goo.
    Gluey. Gluey.

    Gooey goo for chewy chewing!
    That's what that Goo-Goose is doing.
    Do you choose to chew goo, too, sir?
    If, sir, you, sir, choose to chew, sir,
    with the Goo-Goose, chew, sir.
    Do, sir.

    My favorite Dr. Seuess book.

  • They seemed to spend an inordinate amount of time semi-clothed in blue-lit rooms spreading "Decon Gel" on each other...

I've got a bad feeling about this.