LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Salt-loving nuclear-waste bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of a group of unidentified bacteria that thrive in high-salt, high-radioactivity conditions. Rod-shaped bacteria are coloured red; yellow particles of plutonium- 239 are seen on the surface of the bacteria. These halophilic (salt-loving) bacteria live deep under- ground in brines trapped in salt beds in New Mexico. It is here that a nuclear waste isolation pilot plant (WIPP) is located. These extremophile bacteria not only survive extreme salt concen- trations, but are unaffected by radioactive elements. Magnification: x1650 at 6x4.5cm size.
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