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Inherently Safe In-Situ Uranium Recovery

Sandia National Laboratories

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Publications:

PDF Document PublicationMarket Sheet (1,140 KB)


Technology Marketing SummaryAs uranium mining continues to grow in the United States, so does the concerns over its environmental impact. An approach that may alleviate some of these problems may be in situ recovery (ISR) of uranium which involves circulating reactive fluids through an underground uranium deposit. These fluids contain chemical agents that dissolve the ore so uranium can be recovered once the fluid is pumped back to the surface. New and more stringent standards of uranium traces in drinking water are making mining operations more difficult and costly.DescriptionOur technology package has four pieces that integrate a green “leaching” process that immobilizes uranium and other trace metals, a back up decontamination process, optimized well-field design that increases uranium recovery efficiency while reducing contaminated water, and finally a protocol for long-term monitoring. The process is environmentally friendly because the land surface is not degraded by mining or ore milling operations. The mobility of these pollutants can be tied to the artificial oxidizing condition imposed on the aquifer by the ISR activity. Our set of novel technologies will be used to re-impose reducing conditions on the aquifer once the mining process has been completed. This could potentially restore the aquifer to a suitable condition for regulatory bodies would be more inclined to sign off on final site closure plans.Benefits
  • Increased safety of uranium removal
  • Environmentally friendly process
  • Restoration of aquifer to regulatory standards
  • Reduced cost
  • Greater efficiency
Applications and Industries
  • Nuclear power & waste applications
  • Mining operations
More InformationUS Patent PendingTechnology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SD 11501, 11503, 11505, 11506Proposed - It has been demonstrated that the key elements of this technology have been integrated with reasonably realistic supporting elements so technology can be tested in a simulated and operational environment. Available - Various license and partnering options are available. Please contact the Intellectual Property department to discuss. 06/21/201003/12/2013

Contact SNL About This Technology

To: Technology Inquiries<ip@sandia.gov>