…from the quill of Antisthenes the Younger
The always light weight magazine Scientific American managed convert itself into unreliable, biased, doom-scaremongering, by feministas mismanaged publication in less than a quarter of century. I borrow and glance through it from time to time, monitoring the progress of charlatanism and retreat of science. Articles by women, about women and quoting women abound, and while I admire female scientists and wish there was more of them, I loath the politically correct, emotional,would-be scientific pamphleteering to which ambitious women and less-manly men are prone. That practically every item asks for or at least suggest that more money is needed, under pain of dire consequences to the mankind reduces SciAm to war-time propaganda brochures. Scientists used to be able to think without shining pieces of silver.
When I refer to an article in that publication it does not mean that I accept it as a truth. It is possible that it is yet another journalistic fabrication, nowadays going under the euphemism ‘false news’. Still – SciAm of July 2016 has on p17 “Water Power – Extracting uranium from seawater could offer reliable fuel for nuclear power plants.”
Sea water, beside other, boring compounds, contains UO2, uranium dioxide, in small, but not insignificant quantities – 3.3 micrograms per litre. Japanese, not surprisingly, were the first to get interested and so now even the US Department of Energy got interested. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory are working on developing a material able to extract that useful stuff. It is braided polyethylene fibre coated with amidoxime which attract uranium dioxide. The recovery procedure is described in Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research. So far the process is uneconomical. Though, apparently, there are 4 million tons of uranium available in all oceans, it needs 27,000 kilograms of uranium to run a 1-gigawatt reactor for one year. It takes eight weeks for one kilogram of absorbing fibre to extract six grams of uranium.
Hmm, was Fukushima nuclear power station built close to the sea for that reason?
According to Stephen Kung of the US Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy, “Terrestrial sources of uranium are expected to last for only another 100 to 200 more years” though I am not sure whether he meant normal years or the current anti-civilisation environmentalist years. As the seawater process is, so far, impractical, the green rabble has not called for its ban; at least as far as I know. We may yet see it. If anybody asked me, I would recommend more serious investigation of thorium as a reactor fuel – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thorium-based_nuclear_power. My opinion that it looks promising is based only on the volume of anti-thorium propaganda.