Electrified fibers will help to extract uranium from sea water
Even with the complexity and ambiguity of the attitude in the world to nuclear power plants after a series of accidents , they still remain one of the main sources of “clean” energy. However, their future depends to a large extent on uranium reserves, which decline year by year. To save the situation can the World Ocean, in the waters of which the whole Mendeleev’s table is dissolved, including a huge amount of uranium.
To do this, a team of researchers from Stanford developed a technology that significantly increases the rate of production of uranium from sea water and the concentration of the final product. Another advantage of the new method is the ability to reuse materials.
Not so long ago, researchers at the National Laboratory of Oak Ridge have already demonstrated material that is capable of extracting uranium, like a sponge, from the water in the form of uranyl ions.
It is a plastic fiber coated with amidoxine, which attracts ions and keeps them on the surface of the fiber. After the fibers are saturated to the limit, uranyl can be released by chemical treatment of the plastic. The resulting feed can be used for loading into the reactor.
Using a similar technology, scientists from Stanford created their own conductive fibers from carbon and amidoxine, which enabled them to increase the productivity of the fibers by extracting uranyl by feeding electrical impulses through the material.
While the testing of technology is carried out at the level of experiments, but sooner or later it will allow to withdraw the production of uranium from sea water to the industrial level.