Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fueling nuclear power with seawater: Tests adsorbent to extract uranium from the ocean

Date:
August 21, 2012
Source:
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Summary:
A new absorbent material may be able to soak up enough trace uranium in seawater to help fuel future nuclear power plants. Tests showed the material can soak up more than two times the uranium than a similar material developed in Japan.

Nuclear power plant.
Credit: martin33 / Fotolia

When you take a dip in the ocean, nuclear fuel is probably the farthest thing from your mind. Uranium floats in Earth's oceans in trace amounts of just 3 parts per billion, but it adds up. Combined, our oceans hold up to 4.5 billion tons of uranium -- enough to potentially fuel the world's nuclear power plants for 6,500 years.

Countries such as Japan have examined the ocean as a uranium source since the 1960s, but previous approaches have been too expensive to extract the quantities needed for nuclear fuel. Now researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are tweaking one of those concepts with the goal of making it more efficient and cost-competitive. The research is being done for the Department of Energy's Office of Nuclear Energy.

Japan developed an adsorbent that attaches the uranium-loving chemical group amidoxime to a plastic polymer. ORNL examined the binding process between the plastic and chemical groups and used that knowledge to enhance the uranium-grabbing characteristic of the amidoxime groups on the adsorbent material's surface.

PNNL tested the adsorbent's performance at its Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, Wash., DOE's only marine research facility. Using filtered seawater from nearby Sequim Bay, PNNL established a laboratory testing process to measure the effectiveness of both Japan's and ORNL's adsorbent materials. Initial tests showed ORNL's adsorbent can soak up more than two times the uranium than the material from Japan.

Results were presented Aug. 21 at the fall meeting of the American Chemical Society, which runs Aug. 19-23 in Philadelphia. ORNL chemical engineer Costas Tsouris presented the research team's findings this afternoon, while PNNL chemical oceanographer Gary Gill presented a poster on the PNNL testing program this evening. Tsouris' presentation is part of a larger, day-long oral session on uranium extraction from seawater. Check out the ACS website (link below) for talk and poster abstracts.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Fueling nuclear power with seawater: Tests adsorbent to extract uranium from the ocean." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212628.htm>.
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. (2012, August 21). Fueling nuclear power with seawater: Tests adsorbent to extract uranium from the ocean. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212628.htm
DOE/Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. "Fueling nuclear power with seawater: Tests adsorbent to extract uranium from the ocean." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120821212628.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Stranded Whale Watching Boat Returns to Boston

Reuters - US Online Video (July 29, 2014) Passengers stuck overnight on a whale watching boat return safely to Boston. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

Baluchistan Mining Eyes an Uncertain Future

AFP (July 29, 2014) Coal mining is one of the major industries in Baluchistan but a lack of infrastructure and frequent accidents mean that the area has yet to hit its potential. Duration: 01:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short

AP (July 29, 2014) The U.S. nuclear industry started building its first new plants using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and prevent the cost overruns that crippled the sector decades ago. So far, it's not working. (July 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins