Nuclear Fuel From the Ocean? PNNL Research

Minute amounts of uranium–3 parts per billion–is found in the oceans. Combined, however, oceans hold up to 4.5 billion tons of uranium.  That could be enough to fuel the world’s nuclear power plants for 6,500 years.  Japan and other nations have looked to the oceans as a uranium source since the 1960s, but extraction has been too expensive.

Researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working to make an extraction method efficient and cost-competitive.  The research is being done for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

Japan developed an adsorbent that attaches the uranium-loving chemical group amidoxime to a plastic polymer.  ORNL examined the binding process between the plastic and chemical groups and used that knowledge to enhance the uranium-grabbing characteristic of the amidoxime groups on the adsorbent material’s surface.  PNNL tested the adsorbent’s performance at its Marine Sciences Laboratory in Sequim, WA, the Department of Energy’s only marine research facility.  Using filtered seawater, PNNL established a laboratory testing process to measure the effectiveness of both Japan’s and ORNL’s adsorbent materials.  Initial tests showed ORNL’s adsorbent can soak up more than two times the uranium than the material from Japan.

Source:  PNNL Press Release, August 21, 2012.

1 thought on “Nuclear Fuel From the Ocean? PNNL Research

  1. Why do you think you have to throw this trash at us: The rise in average gaobll temperatures seen in recent decades is due mainly to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In 2005, carbon dioxide levels were more than a third higher than they had been prior to the industrial revolution; rising from 280 parts per million by volume of gas to 381 ppm. As of October 2010, the concentration is 388 ppm. To put these numbers into perspective, almost 300 billion tonnes of carbon have been released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels and cement production since 1751, but half of this carbon has been released since the mid-1970s. I will put these numbers into perspective for you: carbon dioxide is not the cause of any warming in recent decades. The only warming that occurred within the last thirty years started in 1998, raised gaobll temperature by a third of a degree in four years, and then stopped. The eighties and the nineties that preceded it were a period of oscillating temperatures, not of rising temperatures as temperature charts from NOAA, NASA, and the Met Office indicate. How do I know this? Because we have satellite records that prove it. The oscillations are not some noise or artifact but are real and record alternating El Nino and La Nina periods that have a gaobll climate influence. There were five such El Nino peaks in a twenty year period with cool La Nina valleys in between. The warming we are told about began in the late seventies and Hansen testified in 1988 that the warming was here and that carbon dioxide was the cause. That testimony was false. The temperature curves we are shown have been falsified by raising up the bottoms of cool La Nina periods and this way giving the curve an upward slope that they call the late twentieth century warming. NASA and the Met Office, that is. NOAA simply threw out the La Nina periods entirely, all to pretend that a greenhouse effect is here. The greenhouse effect can’t even warm the Arctic which is melting because of warm water carried north by currents, not because of some magical arctic amplification that does not exist. And gaobll warming does not exist. Ferenc Miskolczi’s work explains why this is so. Using NOAA database of weather balloon observations that goes back to 1948 he was able to show that the optical thickness of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs had been constant for 61 years and had a value of 1.87. This means that addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere for all these years had no influence on the transparency of the atmosphere to heat radiation from below or the optical thickness would have increased, and this did not happen. You can also put it this way: the supposed greenhouse absorption signature of carbon dioxide is simply missing. This is an empirical observation, not some theory, and it overrides any calculations from theory. It looks like the good old Arrhenius theory needs to be updated to accommodate physical reality.

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