Japan Uranium Extraction Efforts

Acceptingthat a lot of uranium is available from the black current of Japan and thatit may be recovered at around twice current cost structures, it still is achallenge to do.  However, both vanadiumand molybdenum have ready markets able to absorb large supplies and that couldwell help out.

The method described seems toentail a seaweed farming operation followed somehow with fairly efficientextraction.  Certainly a huge amount ofwaste biomass will be produced and that must be economically consumed.

At this point I see a lot of handwaving and I do not yet believe any of it.

Certainly recognizing the weed asa natural collector of the required metals is a great start.  Perhaps we can turn this into a usefulfeedstock of some sort that can feed other processes.  At the worst it will make a great naturalsoil addition. 

DECEMBER 20, 2010

Japan has proposed various scaling up plans for uraniumfrom seawater They look at the Black Current in the ocean offof Japan and how much materials it is moving. They would put uranium extractionmaterials in its path and collect uranium and other resources as they are movedpast the materials that would trap the resources.

The Black Current off Japan carriesapproximately 5.2 million tons a year. This amount is equivalent to the earth'sremaining inventory of this ore. At present, Japan consumes about 6,000 tons ofuranium per year. So even if only 0.1 percent of what flows along Japan can berecovered.

Resources carried by the Black Current

Rare metals Annual Amount
(unit: 10,000 tons)  Annual amount per cross section of BlackCurrent(tons/m2)
Cobalt            16     0.005
Titanium         170    0.059
Vanadium         340    0.119
Uranium          520     0.182
Molybdenum    1,580   0.553

* Average speed of Black Current       1.75 m/s
* Average flow amount of BlackCurrent  50 millions m3/s

Using large scale engineered Seaweed for uraniumextraction

In 2008, The Mitsubishi ResearchInstitute (MRI) recommended Japan mass-culture seaweed to collect naturalresources such as bio-ethanol and uranium.In the “Apollo andPoseidon Initiative 2025,” MRI suggests that Japan cultures gulfweed, which cangrow more than 2 metres high a year in the sea. The plants could also absorbcarbon dioxide and purify the seawater, and can be used as non-food alternativeenergy sources for bio-ethanol. In April, MRI plans to inaugurate a consortiumcomprising public research institutes and manufacturers to move the planforward. Using advanced molecular and gene-engineering technologies, MRIestimates that Japanwould be capable of producing 65 million metric tons of gulfweed a year. Theannual rate of recovery is 40% of Japan’s total uranium consumption.(19 February 2008, Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun)

Using polymers, the total amount of uranium recovered from three collectionboxes containing 350 kg of fabric was over 1 kg of yellowcake after 240 days ofsubmersion in the ocean. So 65 million tons of seaweed might get 195,000tons/year of uranium based on a comparable efficiency.

Japanuses 7589 tons of Uranium per year now. 40% of Japan's consumption would be about3000 tons of Uranium per year.

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