Nuclear fuel from the ocean


The new technique of obtaining uranium is more ecologically acceptable than the current uranium excavation technique from the earth’s crust, and thus nuclear energy becomes an increasingly attractive energy option.

In nuclear power plants, a high-radioactive isotope of uranium is used to let the water boil as soon as possible and water vapor is obtained which is used to start the turbine and generate electricity.

The International Agency for Nuclear Energy estimates that total nuclear power generation will increase by 68% over the next 15 years. At present there are over 450 nuclear power plants using uranium, and for their work it is necessary to extract 60 000 tonnes of heavy metal uranium (ie uranium dioxide) annually. Uranium is usually obtained by detonating enormous quantities of explosives in the earth, resulting in huge holes, and then scattered remains of heavy metal of uranium that are further processed from the scattered remains of the earth’s crust burst.



To avoid the creation of huge holes in the Earth’s crust (and the amount of uranium itself in Earth’s earthquake is considerably limited – see the picture), scientists have come up with a new technique for acquiring uranium directly from the ocean. It is very interesting that Earth’s oceans contain large amounts of uranium, but there is little problem that concentrations are very small. As small as possible, it could be illustrated by the example of melting in one liter of water a tiny, barely visible eye of a naked eye. On the other hand, the oceans are enormous, and if they could economically and efficiently extract uranium from the estimate, the supply would be such that they could run nuclear eletrics for thousands of years.

Uranium in the seawater in contact with oxygen forms ion uranium. Scientists use a compound (amidoxime) that allows them to extract uranium ions from the sea.

Unfortunately, it is still simpler and cheaper uranium to leave the Earth’s crust than from the ocean.

Although the production of electricity through the use of nuclear power is hazardous waste, and there is a possibility of accidents such as Fukuyama, it is more acceptable than fossil fuels, and with further technological development it will become safer and more acceptable.


** Note: For an article to be interesting, short and wide-ranging, scientific facts are so simplified that it borders with scientific accuracy.


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