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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 report describes the performance of three formulations (38H, AF1, AI8) of amidoxime-based polymeric adsorbent 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), exposed to natural seawater using flow-through columns and recirculating flumes. All three formulations demonstrated high 56 day uranium adsorption capacity (>3 gU/kg adsorbent). The AF1 formulation had the best uranium adsorption performance, with 56-day capacity of 3.9 g U/kg adsorbent, saturation capacity of 5.4 g U/kg adsorbent, and ~25 days half-saturation time. The two exposure methods, flow-through columns and flumes were demonstrated to produce similar performance results, providingmore » 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 that the manufacturing process produces a homogenous adsorbent. Adsorption kinetics appear to be element specific, with half-saturation times ranging from minutes for the major cations in seawater to 8-10weeks 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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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 55; Journal Issue: 15; Journal ID: ISSN 0888-5885
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; Uranium; Seawater; Amidoxime; Adsorption; Marine testing
OSTI Identifier: