Web of Intrigue
An unknown web-like growth has been found on racks of spent nuclear fuel assemblies at the Savannah River Site nuclear reservation in Georgia, USA.
The "white, stringlike" growth "resembles a spider web" and could be of biological nature. Savannah River National Laboratory scientists, who are conducting the inquiry, currently have no idea what the growth is and will not until they are able to obtain a larger sample for analysis. According to spokeswoman Angie French, this will only happen "in late January" as they are currently designing appropriate equipment to collect a larger sample of the strange substance which "disperses readily when disturbed."
The site's L Area, where the web-like growth was found, is an underwater storage facility with concrete walls that are 3 feet thick and pools that are 17 to 30 feet deep, holding 3.5 million gallons of water. L Area stores spent nuclear fuel assemblies from both foreign and domestic sources.
Perhaps we have a new extremophile on our hands? In any case, the Savannah River Laboratory notes that the growth currently "doesn't appear to be causing any damage."
Image by Fred Dawson on Flickr, courtesy of Creative Commons Licensing.Tweet