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Title: Materials for the Recovery of Uranium from Seawater

Abstract

More than 1000× uranium exists in the oceans than exists in terrestrial ores. With nuclear power generation expected to increase over the coming decades, access to this unconventional reserve is a matter of energy security. With origins in the mid-1950’s, materials have been developed for the selective recovery of seawater uranium for more than six decades, with a renewed interest in particular since 2010. This review comprehensively surveys materials developed from 2000 – 2016 for recovery of seawater uranium, in particular including recent developments in inorganic materials, polymer adsorbents and related research pertaining to amidoxime, and nanostructured materials such as metal-organic frameworks, porous-organic polymers, and mesoporous carbons. In conclusion, challenges of performing reliable and reproducible uranium adsorption studies are also discussed, as well as the standardization of parameters necessary to ensure valid comparisons between different adsorbents.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (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), Fuel Cycle Technologies (NE-5)
OSTI Identifier:
1412046
Grant/Contract Number:
AC05-00OR22725
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Chemical Reviews
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: Chemical Reviews; Journal ID: ISSN 0009-2665
Publisher:
American Chemical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
11 NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE AND FUEL MATERIALS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY

Citation Formats

Abney, Carter W., Mayes, Richard T., Saito, Tomonori, and Dai, Sheng. Materials for the Recovery of Uranium from Seawater. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00355.
Abney, Carter W., Mayes, Richard T., Saito, Tomonori, & Dai, Sheng. Materials for the Recovery of Uranium from Seawater. United States. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00355.
Abney, Carter W., Mayes, Richard T., Saito, Tomonori, and Dai, Sheng. 2017. "Materials for the Recovery of Uranium from Seawater". United States. doi:10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00355.
@article{osti_1412046,
title = {Materials for the Recovery of Uranium from Seawater},
author = {Abney, Carter W. and Mayes, Richard T. and Saito, Tomonori and Dai, Sheng},
abstractNote = {More than 1000× uranium exists in the oceans than exists in terrestrial ores. With nuclear power generation expected to increase over the coming decades, access to this unconventional reserve is a matter of energy security. With origins in the mid-1950’s, materials have been developed for the selective recovery of seawater uranium for more than six decades, with a renewed interest in particular since 2010. This review comprehensively surveys materials developed from 2000 – 2016 for recovery of seawater uranium, in particular including recent developments in inorganic materials, polymer adsorbents and related research pertaining to amidoxime, and nanostructured materials such as metal-organic frameworks, porous-organic polymers, and mesoporous carbons. In conclusion, challenges of performing reliable and reproducible uranium adsorption studies are also discussed, as well as the standardization of parameters necessary to ensure valid comparisons between different adsorbents.},
doi = {10.1021/acs.chemrev.7b00355},
journal = {Chemical Reviews},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2017,
month =
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
This content will become publicly available on November 22, 2018
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  • In order to evaluate performances of lightly cross-linked highly porous amidoxime resins in uranium-adsorption systems utilizing natural seawater motions, uranium uptake by the resins from seawater was studied by different approaches, such as simulated sea current exposure tests, towing trials, and/or mooring trials. In general, the efficiency of uranium uptake became higher with a decrease in the thickness of packing layers, indicating important roles of fluidization of the resin particles. On the basis of these fundamental data, mooring tests in the natural sea current were designed and conducted. By mooring flat adsorption beds (base area 260 cm[sup 2], height 3.0more » cm) packed with 780 ml of the resin for 40 h, promising uranium uptake as high as 44 mg/kg of resin (9.9 mg/l of resin) was achieved under sea conditions in which the velocity of sea currents and the vertical velocity of waves were 5.5-49.7 cm/s and 3.4-27 cm/s, respectively.« less
  • Hydroxylamine derivatives of cross-linked poly(acrylonitriles), so-called poly(acrylamidoxime) resins, are suitable for the accumulation of uranium from natural seawater of pH = 8.1 to 8.3. Depending on the method of manufacture, these sorbers yield excellent uranium loadings up to some thousand ppM which roughly equals the average uranium content of actually explored uranium ores. The rate of uranium uptake, which is 5 to 30 ppM/d at room temperature, increases with increasing temperature of seawater. Uranium can be eluted by 1 M HCl with an elution efficiency of more than 90%. Owing to a certain instability of the uranium binding groups inmore » acid eluants, the uranium uptake decreases with increasing number of sorption-elution cycles. Hydroxylamine derivatives of poly(acrylonitrile) are shown to contain simultaneously at least two kinds of functional groups: open-chain amidoxime groups which are stable and cyclic imidoxime groups which are unstable in 1 M HCl. Experimental evidence is presented that the uptake of uranium from natural seawater is closely related to the presence of cyclic imidoxime configurations in the polyacrylic lattice. Polystyrene and poly(glycidylmethacrylate)-based amidoxime and imide dioxime resins are less effective in extracting uranium from natural seawater. 10 figures, 4 tables.« less
  • Cited by 5
  • At an average uranium content of 3.3 ppb the oceans can be considered as a very low-grade but practically unlimited source of uranium. Some essential chemical aspects of a large-scale sorptive recovery of uranium from seawater are discussed with special emphasis on required sorber properties such as high physical and chemical stability in seawater, fast and selective uptake of uranium, as well as a sufficient loading capacity. Systematic screening tests, including about 200 sorber materials on the basis of organic ion-exchange resins, identified cross-linked poly(acrylamidoximes) as the most promising candidate sorbers. Their uranium uptake closely approaches the uranium content ofmore » actually explored uranium ores.« less
  • Porous amidoxime hollow fibers, which were prepared by radiation-induced graft polymerization of acrylonitrile onto porous polyethylene hollow fibers and subsequent amidoximation, were used as packing materials of the adsorption bed for uranium recovery from seawater. Seawater was forced to flow through the bed charged with the amidoxime hollow fibers either by pumping or by ocean current. Uranium concentration decay through the bed could be well correlated with residence time based on the adsorption rate expressed in terms of the overall mass-transfer coefficient. The resultant activation energy of 20 kcal/mol for uranium adsorption was indicative of the chelate formation of themore » amidoxime group with uranyl species as a rate-determining step.« less