Scientists discover new approach to extract uranium from seawater

Advances in extracting uranium from seawater introduced in particular situation

A technique for extracting excessive portions of uranium in a short while might assist make nuclear energy a viable a part of the search for a carbon-free power future, the staff says.

A group of scientists type Stanford University is engaged on a brand new technique to extract uranium from the ocean, which could possibly be notably helpful in areas with no uranium mines however that want the fabric to energy nuclear crops.

The group’s most important aim is to provide you with a way more environmentally pleasant various to extracting the radioactive materials than the present mining methods, in line with a press release.


While the presence of traces of uranium in seawater has been a recognized reality for years, the quantities current are very low and troublesome to extract. But if the researchers at Stanford University can show their technique is value efficient, the state of affairs might shortly change.

“Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a liter of water,” Yi Cui, one of many researchers, stated within the assertion. “But the oceans are so huge that if we will extract these hint quantities affordably, the availability can be countless.”

When uranium is available in contact with the oxygen from the ocean, it varieties the compound uranyl. The staff plans to gather the huge provides through the use of amidoxime, a compound that may pull solely uranyl from the water. The amidoxine coats a pair of carbon electrodes, that are capable of accumulate giant quantities of the uranyl that would then be despatched off for processing.

The scientists put their technique to the check and located they have been capable of extract 3 times as a lot uranyl in an eleven-hour interval in comparison with their earlier technique of utilizing solely an amidoxine-coated brush. The new technique additionally sustained the electrodes for future makes use of.

Despite the staff’s success, there’s a lengthy option to go earlier than giant-scale software. To be commercially viable, the advantages of the extraction technique should outweigh its prices. The course of additionally must be streamlined to deal with giant portions of water. “We have loads of work to do nonetheless however these are massive steps towards practicality,” Cui concludes.

If profitable, the tactic might make of nuclear energy generated with uranium extracted from seawater a renewable power, because it’s constantly replenished, simply as photo voltaic, hydro and wind.

The researchers’ findings have been revealed in the journal Nature.


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