Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Uranium Recovery from Brine

ALTAY M. B., Kalıpçıoğlu C., KURT Z.

Resources, Conservation and Recycling, vol.181, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 181
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2022.106237
  • Journal Name: Resources, Conservation and Recycling
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, PASCAL, Aerospace Database, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, Compendex, EMBASE, Environment Index, Geobase, Greenfile, INSPEC, Metadex, Pollution Abstracts, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Keywords: Amidoximated Adsorbent, Brine, Solar Energy, Waste Management, Sustainability, Uranium Recovery, EXTRACTION, SEAWATER, DESALINATION, FRAMEWORK
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


© 2022 Elsevier B.V.With the increase in world population and the associated increase in raw material, clean water and energy demands, seeking for innovative and sustainable methods to decrease human-made environmental footprint becomes a task of utmost importance to reduce emissions and waste generation. Uranium-based atomic energy generation has an enormous potential to efficiently supply energy demand at the cost of high environmental impact on water bodies. Therefore, estimating the environmental impacts of the uranium recovery systems from desalination waste is a necessity. This study assessed the environmental impact of uranium recovery method from brine via AF1 and PAN-AO amidoximated adsorbents and compared them with the conventional uranium mining methods. As a life-cycle impact assessment method International Reference Life Cycle Data System was conducted with 16 impact categories considering cradle to gate analysis. The results for AF1, PAN-AO and all conventional uranium extraction methods showed that recovery of uranium in the long run is more effective than the conventional procedures. The sensitivity analysis results reveal that hydroxylamine, hazardous waste disposal are the most influential parameters during the uranium recovery via adsorbent methods. Comparative analysis between energy sources used in adsorbent recovery processes indicated that solar energy has the lowest environmental impacts among all kinds of energy scenarios. This study concluded that an alternative sustainable industrial process to obtain uranium is actually applicable. Hence, developing a uranium recovery strategy from brine should be considered while uranium mines are under investigation.