Do you know that there are over four billion tonnes of uranium in the oceans. It’s uranium, that could be harvested for nuclear fuel. The hurdle was making it economic to extract uranium from seawater, because the amount of uranium in seawater is almost inexhaustible. Scientists have extracted nuclear fuel from seawater. Scientists at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory created 5 grams of powdered uranium, known as yellowcake, from regular seawater using basic acrylic yarn.
We’ve been able to develop an adsorbent technology that has a much higher capacity to adsorb uranium from seawater compared to all previous materials that have been adsorbed, and to do so with a technology that’s much cheaper to manufacture.
– Garry Gill, researcher, PNNL
Sea water – big source of nuclear fuel
Lot of countries are racing to be the leader of nuclear energy. Sea water could one day become a big source of nuclear fuel and scientists are very close to reach that point. The team found that chemicals within the yarn can be converted into other chemicals that help uranium extraction. They fixed bundles of yarn to the bottom of a water basin and manipulated raw seawater within to move like the ocean. The process takes almost a month but yields uranium particles. The ore can be used in fuel rods that power nuclear reactors and if the system can be perfected and scaled up, the U.S. can rely on extra source of nuclear fuel for centuries to come.
Source: Nature.com, Forbes.com, facebook.com/pg/NowThisFuture, Reuters, YT