Uranium chemistry for profit and fun.

This is quite a cool, impressive example of demonstrating some chemistry in your garage. Informative stuff. I’m impressed that he’s done all that inorganically, with no solvent extraction, and got good uranium selectivity, at least as far as you can tell from looking at pictures of the stuff.

The portable BGO probe made from a subdivided part of a PET scanner – one of the PMTs and one corresponding small part of the array of BGO crystals – is very nice, too.

I wonder if the radium and what-have-you (the daughter nuclides which account for almost all of the radioactivity of the uranium ore) are left concentrated in the lixivant solution after the uranium is precipitated following the addition of ammonia? The presence of the Ra, etc can of course easily be determined by following where the radioactivity goes.

It seems like it’s inefficient to start with Uranium(VI) as UO3, and then reduce that to uranium(IV) with a reducing agent to make UF4, only to need straight fluorine gas to oxidise it back when they make uranium hexafluoride. I wonder if there’s a way to convert UO3 straight into UF6 without changing the oxidation state, without such an aggressive fluorination reagent? I suppose if such a thing existed they would use it in industry, though.

Some people out there in the public might be alarmed by the fact that you can actually pull this off, all the way to UF4, in your basement. I’m not alarmed at all, I think it’s really impressive.

[Yes, the above post is probably just tooo geeky for most audiences. Never mind if it means nothing to you.]


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