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The Department of Homeland Security initially put out calls to researchers for projects to explore radioactive-cleanup techniques that might be developed in a year or so to aid first responders should a nightmarish situation arise. While mulling over the supergels used in baby diapers, Kaminski thought there must be a way to apply them in a unsaturated concentration to wet buildings, perhaps through a fire hose. As the viscous gel attempted to suck in moisture from a building’s surface, it would also pick up any deposited radioactive contaminants.