Uranium from seawater

Discussion of the mining, milling, purification, and world quantities of uranium and thorium.
SteveK9
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Re: EROEI of uranium from seawater.

Post by SteveK9 » Jan 10, 2015 8:04 pm

In one of the other threads the subject of the uranium supply came up. I mentioned I had read something a while back by James Hopf that I thought was excellent. I went and found it. It's 10 years old, but I think it's still worth reading, if you want a realistic appraisal. It's not specifically about U from seawater, but I thought I would put it here.

He's written about this topic later, in other places as well. I once read (may have been him again) that there are 30 years of proven reserves of copper left, and that has been true for over 100 years.

http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/uranium.aspx

Cyril R
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Re: EROEI of uranium from seawater.

Post by Cyril R » Jan 19, 2015 11:34 am

SteveK9 wrote:In one of the other threads the subject of the uranium supply came up. I mentioned I had read something a while back by James Hopf that I thought was excellent. I went and found it. It's 10 years old, but I think it's still worth reading, if you want a realistic appraisal. It's not specifically about U from seawater, but I thought I would put it here.

He's written about this topic later, in other places as well. I once read (may have been him again) that there are 30 years of proven reserves of copper left, and that has been true for over 100 years.

http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/uranium.aspx
Thanks. This refers to the Deffeyes work that shows uranium is normally distrubuted in the crust as is expected. Based on this work there is about a trillion tonnes of high EROEI (ie >10) available. Trillion, with a T. 10e12 metric tonnes. 1,000,000,000,000 tonnes.

One of the best sites for this is the nuclearinfo.net site. Here is the page on that site that shows the uranium distribution and source for 1 trillion ton estimate.

http://nuclearinfo.net/Nuclearpower/Ura ... stribution

Still seawater may win out, for a number of reasons. One, the sea flows of its own, unlike rock that you have to get, move and crush. This means its not just a ppm comparison. Two, seawater extraction uses membrane technology that has a good learning curve - it can get cheaper and better. Rock mining is not going to get much cheaper though ISL is a major innovation of course, that is a process that is simple chemistry that isn't going to get much better or cheaper than it is today. Third reason has to do with acceptance. Uranium mines have a bad rep, whereas fabrics suspended in the middle of nowhere in the ocean do not and will likely not get a bad rep. It is out of sight, out of mind, and does not leave toxins and such in the actual "mine" site itself (the polymers used are inert in seawater).

jagdish
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Re: EROEI of uranium from seawater.

Post by jagdish » Jan 19, 2015 12:37 pm

This forum is about a thorium breeder. With a fast spectrum reactor, a uranium breeder is easier. Used fuel and depleted uranium are strewn about the world from already mined uranium. Fast uranium breeders are working in Russia, nearing completion in India and being planned in China. With a change of the secondary coolant, they will get much safer. In a decade or two' uranium may not be required and the Waste Stocks may provide all the nuclear power required. If the thorium breeders are developed, the Waste thorium from the rare earth mines may be the energy source. Once you develop fast MSR for burning the used fuel Waste, the uranium from sea water may become an exotic idea only for scientific research.

Cyril R
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Re: EROEI of uranium from seawater.

Post by Cyril R » Jan 19, 2015 1:17 pm

jagdish wrote:This forum is about a thorium breeder. With a fast spectrum reactor, a uranium breeder is easier. Used fuel and depleted uranium are strewn about the world from already mined uranium. Fast uranium breeders are working in Russia, nearing completion in India and being planned in China. With a change of the secondary coolant, they will get much safer. In a decade or two' uranium may not be required and the Waste Stocks may provide all the nuclear power required. If the thorium breeders are developed, the Waste thorium from the rare earth mines may be the energy source. Once you develop fast MSR for burning the used fuel Waste, the uranium from sea water may become an exotic idea only for scientific research.
And once you develop sea water extraction, fast breeders become pointless. You can argue this both ways. For the moment we should be glad there are more paths to success other than "we must develop fast reactors".

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Uranium from seawater

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Jun 23, 2018 10:59 am

Attention knitters: Researchers harvest uranium from the sea with a yarn “net”

We Can Now Harvest Radioactive Uranium From The World's Oceans
"It indicates that this approach can eventually provide commercially attractive nuclear fuel derived from the oceans – the largest source of uranium on Earth."

Perhaps more significantly, the team estimates there is at least 4 billion tonnes of uranium in lying in wait in the ocean, which is around 500 times the amount known to exist in land-based ore.
I doubt that seawater uranium will ever become much of a source of fuel for nuclear reactors, mainly because I believe in the future we'll be using thorium as a basic nuclear energy source and won't need to mine uranium anymore. But I think it's fascinating to be able to show the public that uranium isn't some strange evil demented element that's going to kill us. (like that PBS documentary about uranium and the "dragon's tail" that made me so angry) It's just a normal part of our world---it's always been here and always will be and it's all over in the ocean and that's all just fine...

jagdish
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Re: EROEI of uranium from seawater.

Post by jagdish » Jun 26, 2018 7:49 am

Cyril R wrote:
jagdish wrote:This forum is about a thorium breeder. With a fast spectrum reactor, a uranium breeder is easier. Used fuel and depleted uranium are strewn about the world from already mined uranium. Fast uranium breeders are working in Russia, nearing completion in India and being planned in China. With a change of the secondary coolant, they will get much safer. In a decade or two' uranium may not be required and the Waste Stocks may provide all the nuclear power required. If the thorium breeders are developed, the Waste thorium from the rare earth mines may be the energy source. Once you develop fast MSR for burning the used fuel Waste, the uranium from sea water may become an exotic idea only for scientific research.
And once you develop sea water extraction, fast breeders become pointless. You can argue this both ways. For the moment we should be glad there are more paths to success other than "we must develop fast reactors".
I believe that more you recycle the wastes and less you take from nature, earth or sea, the better. The fission nuclear power runs basically on fissile isotopes and sources are nature’s uranium and used fuel. Plutonium from used LWR fuel is a preferable source and the technology has been developed and is in a limited use. It needs to be scaled up even if the Russians are the current leaders.

E Ireland
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Re: Uranium from seawater

Post by E Ireland » Jun 26, 2018 8:33 pm

As I've argued before, recycling of wastes can easily be accomplished over the timescale of centuries.
This avoids many issues but does require us to have centuries worth of uranium to start with

Seawater gives us that.

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Kirk Sorensen
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Re: Uranium from seawater

Post by Kirk Sorensen » Sep 07, 2018 6:23 pm

This Idaho scientist and his firm found ‘green’ way to mine nuclear fuel from the sea
How much uranium are we talking about? An Olympic swimming pool of full of seawater would contain approximately eight grams of uranium, the mass of a U.S. dollar coin. That may not sound like a lot, says Gill, but you have to appreciate just how big the ocean is. There’s more than 500 times more uranium floating in the sea than there are in all the world’s land-based ore sites combined, approximately four billion tons.

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