Even with all the complexity and ambiguity of the world's attitude to nuclear power plants after a number of accidents, they still remain one of the main sources of "clean" energy. However, their future largely depends on uranium reserves, which are shrinking from year to year. The situation can be saved by the World Ocean, in the waters of which the entire periodic table is dissolved, including a huge amount of uranium.
To do this, a team of researchers from Stanford has developed technology that significantly increases the rate of extraction of uranium from seawater and the concentration of the final product. Another advantage of the new method is the reusability of materials.
Not so long ago, researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have already demonstrated material that can extract uranium from water, like a sponge, in the form of uranyl ions.
It is a plastic fiber coated with amidoxin, which attracts ions and holds them on the fiber surface. After the fibers are saturated to the limit, the uranyl can be released by chemical treatment of the plastic. The resulting raw material can be used for loading into the reactor.
Using similar technology, the Stanford scientists created their own conductive fibers from carbon and amidoxin, which allowed them to use electrical impulses through the material to increase the fiber's uranyl recovery performance.
So far, the technology is being developed at the experimental level, but sooner or later it will make it possible to bring the production of uranium from seawater to an industrial level.