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Volume 2 Issue 4, April 2017

Volume 2 Issue 4

Seawater source

There are huge amounts of uranium present in the oceans that could be used for nuclear fuel, but recovery methods suffer from low capacity and limited extraction rates. Liu et al. use a pulsed electric field to migrate uranyl ions to a polymer-functionalized electrode, where they deposit on the surface as uranium oxide (shown here). The uptake capacity and kinetics of the extraction are improved relative to conventional physicochemical methods.

See Liu et al. 2, 17007 (2017) and News & Views by Costas Tsouris, article 17022.

Image: Liu et al. Cover design: Samantha Whitham.


  • Editorial |

    Clean energy initiatives offer a way to realise substantial global health benefits.


  • Feature |

    The shade from trees reliably cools humans and the environment in which they live. Researchers are now trying to show how the energy savings of this ecosystem service can be measured.

    • Lisa Palmer

Research Highlights

News & Views

  • News & Views |

    There are over four billion tonnes of uranium in the oceans that could be harvested for nuclear fuel, but current capture methods have limited performance and reusability. Now, an electrochemical method using modified carbon electrodes is shown to be promising for the extraction of uranium from seawater.

    • Costas Tsouris
  • News & Views |

    It is important to include the public in the processes by which decisions on societal trajectories are made. A study shows that interactive scenario-building tools can engage people in the holistic complexities of energy transitions, but these tools must be designed and used with care because elicited preferences can be influenced by contextual factors.

    • Tim Chatterton
  • News & Views |

    Various programmes have been introduced to increase energy efficiency in buildings. A study of commercial buildings in Los Angeles, USA, now finds that voluntary certification programmes have been effective at lowering energy use, bringing savings of up to 30%.

    • Margaret Walls
  • News & Views |

    Cheap, efficient, and stable thin photovoltaics that use abundant and non-toxic materials can deliver widespread renewable energy. New results using Earth-abundant and potentially cheap ZnO/Sb2Se3 solar cells indicate promising levels of stability.

    • Supratik Guha
  • News & Views |

    Public fears of nuclear power are widespread, especially in the aftermath of accidents, yet their benefits are rarely fully considered. A new study shows how the closure of two nuclear power plants in the 1980s increased air pollution and led to a measurable reduction in birth weights, a key indicator of future health outcomes.

    • Michael Shellenberger


Amendments & Corrections


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