A Molecular Trap for Capturing Radioactive Organic Iodides from Nuclear Waste

Molecular trap is 340% more efficient than current processes

Invention Summary:

Rutgers University researchers have developed a metal-organic framework (MOF) molecular trap to remove radioactive organic iodides (ROI) from nuclear waste streams.

Nuclear power provides ~11% of the world’s electricity currently. How to safely dispose nuclear waste is still a big challenge we are facing. 129I and 131I and other iodine isotopes generated from the fission reaction of uranium and plutonium in nuclear reactors are a suspected cause of thyroid cancer. 129I has a half-life of 15.7 million years and it can occur in multiple ionic forms, which makes it fairly easy to enter vegetation, soil, milk and animal tissue to cause harm to human body.

The molecular trap developed by Rutgers researchers exhibited a record methyl iodide (CH3I) saturation uptake capacity, which is 340% higher than the typically used industrial zeolites under identical conditions. The molecular trap also showed excellent chemical and thermal stability at the normal processing temperature.

Market Applications:

  • Safe disposal of long-lived radioactive iodides at nuclear waste reprocessing plants


  • 340% more efficient than current process
  • 10-20 times less expensive than current process
  • Excellent chemical and thermal stability
  • Recyclable

Intellectual Property & Development Status:

Patent pending. Available for licensing and/or research collaboration.

Rutgers ID: 2017-031
Physical Sciences
Zolt Pukanecz
Jing Li
Baiyan Li