Where does uranium come from?

Where does uranium come from?


Thomas Borch, professor of soil and crop sciences with joint appointments in chemistry and civil and environmental engineering, and Amrita Bhattacharyya, a former postdoctoral researcher in Borch’s lab, offer evidence for a new, biologic, origin story for uranium.

Most of the uranium they found 650 feet deep in an unmined site in Wyoming is estimated to have been formed through the action of microorganisms – microbes that respire not on oxygen, but on uranium.

Abundance of this biogenic non-crystalline uranium has implications for environmental remediation of mining sites, and for mining practices in general. For instance, such uranium is much more likely to oxidize into a water-soluble form, which could affect its likelihood for contaminating a drinking water aquifer, Borch said.

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