The U.S. Department of Energy is funding scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in their quest to extract uranium from the Earth’s oceans, according to an article from Scientific American. Building on the work of Japanese researchers, the scientists have reportedly developed a material that can effectively pull uranium from seawater.
According to the article, the Earth’s seawater holds 4 billion tons of uranium, enough to power all the world’s cities for hundreds of years. Stephen Kung of the DOE's Office of Nuclear Energy is cited as saying finding alternatives to uranium ore mining is a necessary step in the future of nuclear energy. Thus far, the process reportedly remains inefficient and expensive.
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