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Title: Characterization and Testing of Amidoxime-Based Adsorbent Materials to Extract Uranium from Natural Seawater

Extraction of uranium (U) from seawater for use as a nuclear fuel is a significant challenge due to the low concentration of U in seawater (~3.3 ppb) and difficulties to selectively extract U from the background of major and trace elements in seawater. The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL)’s Marine Sciences Laboratory (MSL) has been serving as a marine test site for determining performance characteristics (adsorption capacity, adsorption kinetics, and selectivity) of novel amidoxime-based polymeric adsorbents developed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) under natural seawater exposure conditions. This manuscript describes the performance of three formulations (38H, AF1, AI8) of amidoxime-based polymeric adsorbents produced at ORNL in MSL’s ambient seawater testing facility. The adsorbents were produced in two forms, fibrous material (40-100 mg samples) and braided material (5-10 g samples), and exposed to natural seawater using flow-through columns and recirculating flumes. All three formulations demonstrated high 56 day uranium adsorption capacity (>3 g U/kg adsorbent). The AF1 formulation had the best uranium adsorption performance, with a 56 day capacity of 3.9 g U/ kg adsorbent, a saturation capacity of 5.4 g U/kg adsorbent, and ~25 days half-saturation time. The two exposure methods, flowthrough columns and flumes, were demonstrated to producemore » similar performance results, providing confidence that the test methods were reliable, that scaling up from 10’s of mg quantities of exposure in flow-through columns to gram quantities in flumes produced similar results, and confirm that the manufacturing process produces a homogeneous adsorbent. Adsorption kinetics appear to be element specific, with half-saturation times ranging from minutes for the major cations in seawater, to 8-10 weeks for V and Fe. Reducing the exposure time provides a potential pathway to improve the adsorption capacity of U by reducing the V/U ratio on the adsorbent.« less
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Resource Type:
Journal Article
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Journal Name: Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 55(15):4285-4293
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS Uranium from seawater; Amidoxime