Research on key technologies for seawater uranium extraction

Research on key technologies for seawater uranium extraction

The uranium in seawater is an important unconventional uranium resource with a reserve of about 4.5 billion tons, equivalent to a thousand times of terrestrial uranium reserves. If it can be extracted economically and efficiently, it will be an important supplement and guarantee for stable development of China’s nuclear power industry. Recently, researchers from the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics, a team of scientists at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have made new progress in the field of seawater uranium. The results are published in Energy & Environmental Science (DOI: 10.1039/C9EE00626E).

The researchers successfully obtained a kind of amidoxime-based polymer fiber adsorption material with high specific surface area and multi-stage pore structure through delicate structural design of the material. It found that the multi-stage pore structure makes the adsorption capacity of the material in real seawater exceed 1 for the first time, and the structural effect subverts the current low selectivity of uranium and vanadium. Due to the characteristics of the polymer skeleton, the material has high mechanical strength, strong structural and chemical stability, which can be reused for at least 10 times. It has reached the requirements of the uranium industrialization of seawater for adsorbent materials. This research provides new ideas for seawater uranium research and develops new ways to extract nuclear fuel from the ocean.

The research work was jointly completed by the Shanghai Institute of Applied Physics and Changzhou University.

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Elaine Li

Elaine Li (李益楠) is Marketing Manager for the Chinese Market. With ten years of experience in the nuclear power market, Elaine is experts for the certification of safety equipment (HAF 604 and 601) and marketing intelligence.