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Title: Uranium extraction: Fuel from seawater

Abstract

Over four billion tonnes of uranium are currently in the oceans that could be harvested for nuclear fuel, but current capture methods have limited performance and reusability. Now, an electrochemical method using modified carbon electrodes is shown to be promising for the extraction of uranium from seawater.

Authors:
 [1];  [2]
  1. Georgia Inst. of Technology, Atlanta, GA (United States)
  2. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
OSTI Identifier:
1361344
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Energy
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 2; Journal Issue: 4; Journal ID: ISSN 2058-7546
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
38 RADIATION CHEMISTRY, RADIOCHEMISTRY, AND NUCLEAR CHEMISTRY; Uranium from Seawater

Citation Formats

Tsouris, Costas, and Oak Ridge National Lab. Uranium extraction: Fuel from seawater. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.22.
Tsouris, Costas, & Oak Ridge National Lab. Uranium extraction: Fuel from seawater. United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.22.
Tsouris, Costas, and Oak Ridge National Lab. Fri . "Uranium extraction: Fuel from seawater". United States. doi:10.1038/nenergy.2017.22. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1361344.
@article{osti_1361344,
title = {Uranium extraction: Fuel from seawater},
author = {Tsouris, Costas and Oak Ridge National Lab.},
abstractNote = {Over four billion tonnes of uranium are currently in the oceans that could be harvested for nuclear fuel, but current capture methods have limited performance and reusability. Now, an electrochemical method using modified carbon electrodes is shown to be promising for the extraction of uranium from seawater.},
doi = {10.1038/nenergy.2017.22},
journal = {Nature Energy},
number = 4,
volume = 2,
place = {United States},
year = {Fri Feb 17 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Fri Feb 17 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
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  • The Research Committee on Extraction of Uranium from Seawater worked on the technical survey of the present situation of the above technique and the exchange of information among the members, during 1977 to 1979. This is a report of its activity and present status of the research in this field. It includes the development of various adsorbents, extraction of uranium by flotation, various kinds of chemical analyses, some comparisons among different kinds of seawater contacting systems, the secondary concentrations and the cost of assessment.
  • Alkaline conditioning of the amidoxime based adsorbents is a significant step in the preparation of the adsorbent for uranium uptake from seawater. The effects of various alkaline conditioning parameters such as the type of alkaline reagent, reaction temperature, and reaction time were investigated with respect to uranium adsorption capacity from simulated seawater (spiked with 8 ppm uranium) and natural seawater (from Sequim Bay, WA). An adsorbent (AF1) was prepared at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory by radiation-induced graft polymerization (RIGP) with acrylonitrile and itaconic acid onto high-surface-area polyethylene fibers. For the AF1 adsorbent, sodium hydroxide emerged as a better reagentmore » for alkaline conditioning over potassium hydroxide, which has typically been used in previous studies, because of higher uranium uptake capacity and lower cost over the other candidate alkaline reagents investigated in this study. Use of sodium hydroxide in place of potassium hydroxide is shown to result in a 21-30% decrease in the cost of uranium recovery.« less
  • A new series of amidoxime-based polymer adsorbents were synthesized at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) by electron beam induced grafting of acrylonitrile and itaconic acid onto polyethylene fiber. Hydroxylamine derivatives of poly(acrylonitrile) (PAN) moiety are demonstrated to possess two kinds of functional groups: open-chain amidoxime and cyclic imide dioxime. The open-chain amidoxime is shown to convert to imide dioxime on heat treatment in the presence of an aprotic solvent, like dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO). The formation of amidoxime and imide dioxime was confirmed by 13-C CPMAS spectra. The adsorbents were evaluated for uranium adsorption efficiency at ORNL with simulated seawater spikedmore » with 8 ppm uranium and 5 gallon seawater in a batch reactor, and in flow-through columns with natural seawater at the Marine Science Laboratory (MSL) of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) at Sequim Bay, WA. The DMSO-heat-treated sorbents adsorbed uranium as high as 4.48 g-U/kg-ads. from seawater. Experimental evidence is presented that the poly(imide dioxime) is primarily responsible for enhanced uranium adsorption capacity from natural seawater. The conjugated system in the imide dioxime ligand possesses increased electron donation ability, which is believed to significantly enhance the uranyl coordination in seawater« less