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Scientists working on a way to extract uranium from the ocean
Scientists from Stanford University are working on a new method to extract uranium from the ocean.

As per a statement by the team, their main aim is to develop a more environmentally friendly alternative to extracting the radioactive material than the presently available mining techniques.

If the scientists are successful in developing the method to extract uranium from the ocean, it could help in transforming nuclear power into a viable part of the quest for a carbon-free energy future.

Seawater has been known to contain uranium but the amounts present are very low and difficult to extract. The researchers at Stanford University are focusing on their method being cost effective and if they succeed, the history of uranium could be at a turning point.

"Concentrations are tiny, on the order of a single grain of salt dissolved in a litre of water," Yi Cui, one of the researchers, said in the statement. "But the oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless," Cui said.

In the testing period, the scientists were able to extract three times as much uranyl in an 11-hour period as compared to when they had previously used only an amidoxine-coated brush. Additionally, the new method enabled the scientists to reuse the electrodes for future uses.

Even though for the method, to be commercially successful, it might still be a long way, but the method could also result in nuclear power generated with uranium extracted from seawater turning into a renewable energy.

"We have a lot of work to do still but these are big steps toward practicality," Cui concludes.

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