August 22, 2012

Harvesting uranium from shrimp shells.

There's a very tiny concentration of uranium in seawater — 3 parts per billion — but what if you could extract it from with the vast quantities of shells left over from shrimping?

19 comments:

Peter said...

What if you could genetically engineer the shrip to enrich the uranium?

rhhardin said...

My father was the first to propose dispensing of nuclear waste in ground beef, there being no standard limit for nuclear waste in ground beef.

It may be time to harvest it all now.

Fritz said...

That might not be the stupidest idea I've heard this week. But it's likely to be at least a runner up.

Bunker said...

I wonder if the people eating lots of shrimp are exposed to depleted uranium shells?

Rabel said...

Not to be Mr. Smartypants, but the material extracted from the shells would be used to build the fiber mats that would then be used to extract the uranium from seawater.

wyo sis said...

At the bottom of the linked article is another link to a story with the headline:
Star is Caught Devouring Planet

I had a little flash of the mama star saying "Shame on you junior, you spit that out right now!"

Rabel said...

Anyway, I was told that the BP oil spill was going to to end shrimping and "life as we know it" on the gulf coast. What happened to that?

EDH said...

Keep in mind only the U-235 isotope is fissionable, which comprises less than 1% of the total uranium, and there is more nuclear energy potential in the isotopes of hydrogen (fusion power) in sea water.

Deuterium is even MORE plentiful in seawater than is Uranium.

Deuterium has an abundance of about 0.015% relative to all Hydrogen. Water is 2/18 or about 11% Hydrogen.

Therefore water is about 0.0000167 Deuterium = 1.67e-5 Deuterium or 16,700 parts per billion. Uranium is about 3 parts per billion in seawater, and the fissile U-235 is 0.7% of that.

Additionally, you get more energy per unit mass in fusion than in fission. Fission gives you about 1 MeV / amu. Fusion gives you about 3.5 MeV/amu.

So the fusion energy content of the Deuterium in seawater represents almost 3 MILLION TIMES as much energy as the fission energy content of the U-235!

THAT's why it's worth going after the fusion technology.

Dr. Gregory Greenman
Physicist

chickelit said...

Fritz Haber thought he could help pay off Germany's crushing war debt from WW I by extracting gold from seawater. It wasn't enough that he fertilized the Green Revolution, helping to feed untolled billions. The gold extraction went nowhere, as I think uranium from sea water will. Why bother when there's thorium to be had?

@EDH: Excellent point about the deuterium.

edutcher said...

I think we have our next Bond movie.

Rocketeer said...

Iran at least will never do this. Shrimp-uranium bombs are strictly haram.

The Drill SGT said...

I have a better idea, How about we take the nuclear waste from the power and medical industries, and collect it in one place. We could call it, for example, say, "Yucca Mountain". Why I bet we won't run out of it for 10's of thousands of years, and even without a study, I bet the concentration would be better than 3 parts in a billion :)

The Drill SGT said...

oh wait, Obama's NRC chairman, Harry Reid's chump used extra-legal means against the wishes of the NRC professional staff and the other board members to dismantle the Yucca mountain plans and existing infrasture, so that no future adminstration could easily restart the effort.

ricpic said...

Put another radioactive shrimp on the barby, mate.

Palladian said...

Shrimp shells can also be used to make delicious beurre de crustacés, basically butter pounded in a mortar (or more easily, whizzed in a food processor) with the shells and other shrimp debris, then passed through a fine-meshed sieve.

A more practical use for the shells, and far better on sandwiches than uranium.

Palladian said...

Uranium is better suited to beautifying the serving pieces for your shrimp butter sandwiches.

Smilin' Jack said...

Real men eat shrimp with the shells on.

Methadras said...

There is also a tiny concentration of gold in seawater too, but it's still not economically viable to extract it.

Craig said...

Somebody forgot to mention that after the uranium is extracted the shrimp shells are used to make biodegradable golfballs.