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Research to Investigate Extracting Contaminants from Uranium ISR Bleed Water
Wyoming is the nation's leading producer of uranium and has the country's largest uranium reserves (U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2010). Uranium extraction methods have moved from the more environmentally disruptive methods of open-pit and underground mining to in situ recovery (ISR). Ore extraction using ISR is more cost effective, safer for workers, and greatly reduces surface or underground excavation. However, questions linger about water quality, including the ISR "produced bleed water", as became clear during the UW School of Energy Resources (SER) Uranium Symposium (SER, University of Wyoming, 2010).
UW School of Pharmacy Assistant Professor Suzanne Clark, Ph.D., Professor Katta (KJ) Reddy, Ph.D., with the UW Department of Renewable Resources and School of Energy Resources, Assistant Professor Sreejayan Nair, Ph.D., Jodi Schilz, M.S., both with the UW School of Pharmacy, and Dr. Thomas Johnson and Dr. Ronald Tjalkens, both with Colorado State University, were awarded $100,000 over two years by the Wyoming Legislature's In-Situ Recovery of Uranium Research Program through SER to investigate the use of nanoparticles to extract contaminants such as arsenic from production bleed water, and to determine extraction efficacy using in-vitro cell-based toxicological test systems. An overarching goal of the project is to convert ISR recovery production bleed water from a waste stream to a useable form.