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Aquaculture of Uranium in Seawater by a Fabric-Adsorbent Submerged System

Noriaki Seko, Akio Katakai, Shin Hasegawa, Masao Tamada, Noboru Kasai, Hayato Takeda, Takanobu Sugo, Kyoichi Saito

Nuclear Technology

Volume 144 / Number 2 / November 2003 / Pages 274-278


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The total amount of uranium dissolved in seawater at a uniform concentration of 3 mg U/m3 in the world's oceans is 4.5 billion tons. An adsorption method using polymeric adsorbents capable of specifically recovering uranium from seawater is reported to be economically feasible. A uranium-specific nonwoven fabric was used as the adsorbent packed in an adsorption cage 16 m2 in cross-sectional area and 16 cm in height. We submerged three adsorption cages in the Pacific Ocean at a depth of 20 m at 7 km offshore of Japan. The three adsorption cages consisted of stacks of 52 000 sheets of the uranium-specific non-woven fabric with a total mass of 350 kg. The total amount of uranium recovered by the nonwoven fabric was >1 kg in terms of yellow cake during a total submersion time of 240 days in the ocean.

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