Yiacoumi, Tsouris Win Energy Dept. Funding to Improve Uranium Extraction from Seawater


CEE researchers Sotira Yiacoumi and Costas Tsouris received funding Wednesday to help improve the extraction of uranium from seawater.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a group of awards for nuclear energy research and development projects. Yiacoumi and Tsouris are one of four Georgia Tech teams that received a piece of the $67 million in funding.

They proposed to optimize the performance of a new adsorbent developed by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory that soaks up uranium in the world’s oceans. The idea is to make such extraction more economically viable, something scientists have been working on for decades.

The amount of uranium in seawater could vastly outstrip conventional sources, providing another fuel supply for the world’s nuclear reactors.

The Energy Department selected projects for funding based on “their potential to create scientific breakthroughs that both help strengthen the nation’s energy security and reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” according to a government news release.

“The Department’s support for cutting-edge nuclear science and engineering across our universities, national laboratories, and industry reflects the key role of nuclear energy in helping ensure America’s low carbon future,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in the release. “These awards not only provide crucial funding for research and development, but also for the training and education of the next generation nuclear energy workforce that will enhance American leadership in the safe, secure and efficient use of nuclear energy here and around the world.”

Read more about Yiacoumi and Tsouris’ proposed project here.

(Teaser image courtesy of Pollo via Wikimedia Commons.)