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J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2014, 2(1), 81-92; doi:10.3390/jmse2010081

Development of a Kelp-Type Structure Module in a Coastal Ocean Model to Assess the Hydrodynamic Impact of Seawater Uranium Extraction Technology

Coastal Sciences Division, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, 1529 W. Sequim Bay Road, Sequim, WA 98382, USA
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Received: 12 December 2013 / Revised: 17 January 2014 / Accepted: 20 January 2014 / Published: 7 February 2014
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Abstract

With the rapid growth of global energy demand, interest in extracting uranium from seawater for nuclear energy has been renewed. While extracting seawater uranium is not yet commercially viable, it serves as a “backstop” to the conventional uranium resources and provides an essentially unlimited supply of uranium resource. With recent technology advances, extracting uranium from seawater could be economically feasible only when the extraction devices are deployed at a large scale (e.g., several hundred km2). There is concern however that the large scale deployment of adsorbent farms could result in potential impacts to the hydrodynamic flow field in an oceanic setting. In this study, a kelp-type structure module based on the classic momentum sink approach was incorporated into a coastal ocean model to simulate the blockage effect of a farm of passive uranium extraction devices on the flow field. The module was quantitatively validated against laboratory flume experiments for both velocity and turbulence profiles.Model results suggest that the reduction in ambient currents could range from 4% to 10% using adsorbent farm dimensions and mooring densities previously described in the literature and with typical drag coefficients. View Full-Text
Keywords: seawater uranium extraction; structure module; coastal ocean model; FVCOM; hydrodynamic impact seawater uranium extraction; structure module; coastal ocean model; FVCOM; hydrodynamic impact
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Wang, T.; Khangaonkar, T.; Long, W.; Gill, G. Development of a Kelp-Type Structure Module in a Coastal Ocean Model to Assess the Hydrodynamic Impact of Seawater Uranium Extraction Technology. J. Mar. Sci. Eng. 2014, 2, 81-92.

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