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Sunflowers

One of my contacts in the far east (Japan) has informed me that growing sunflowers on contaminated land are being considered as a method of cleaning the land. This is not a joke or an internet hoax.

Sunflowers have been shown to be able to absorb cesium through their roots, the cesium will be stored in the parts of the plant which grow above ground. What will be needed is a central plan for how to dispose of the harvested plants. If the plants are allowed to rot on the land or are burnt then the cesium can be returned to the soil.

What is needed is a cheap and effective method for dealing with the fully grown sunflowers. They need to be treated with care to allow the cesium which they have absorbed to be isolated from the environment.

Rather than just a few sunflowers being planted I suspect that whole fields of sunflowers will be needed to treat the soil. I imagine that farms which have become contaminated may need to change to being “sunflower farms” until the land has been cleaned. I suspect that it will be a very pretty looking decontamination technology when the flowers appear on the plants.

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