Radioactive Waste? Blue Goo to the Rescue!


Photo Credit: Surian Soosay

Clean up crews have been scrambling to decontaminate the area surrounding the devastated Japanese nuclear power plants in the wake of the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged the country earlier this year. Usually, soap, water, brushes, pads and plain old hard work are used in the clean-up, but CNN reports that Hawaiian entrepreneur Hank Wuh has a new solution: blue goo.

Wuh donated 100 five-gallon pails (worth around $250,000) of DeconGel, his company’s hazardous waste cleaner, to the cause. Now, Japanese officials are using DeconGel both inside and outside of the exclusion zone to clean anything and everything. DeconGel, aka blue goo, begins as a liquid that can be brushed or sprayed onto contaminated surfaces. Then it dries to form a gel that traps microscopic pieces of radioactive or otherwise hazardous waste (including mercury, chromium, beryllium and PCBs). The blue goo can then be simply peeled off, rolled up and disposed of.

Wuh is the CEO of a Skai Ventures, and says that researchers from the Honolulu-based venture capital firm and technology accelerator discovered DeconGel accidentally. Ample research followed and the initial goo was transformed into DeconGel. Wuh launched a company called CBI Polymers to market and sell the goo in 2009 and thus far it has been used to clean everything from Hungarian villages awash with toxic alkali sludge after an industrial accident to meth labs. CBI Polymers has approximately 75 clients around the world, ranging from power plants, utilities, hospitals and research facilities. The U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of Energy is also a customer.

Read more about the blue goo at

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Kirby Brooks

written by Kirby Brooks

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