Site update

Since I have been really terrible at updating the blog (but pretty good at keeping up with the facebook blog posts) I've added the widget below so that facebook cross posts to the blog.

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Monday, November 29, 2010

Recycling: Toshiba to Extract Rare Earth Metals From Uranium Waste

...or will they?

Toshiba to Extract Rare Earth Metals From Uranium Waste
from Autotech daily
(thanks to Z for the link!)

(For a little background on rare earth minerals check out: Pay dirt: Why rare earth metals matter to tech)

Toshiba Corp. is developing a low-cost method to recover rare earth minerals and other metals from liquid waste generated by uranium processing, The Nikkei reports. It says Toshiba aims to commercialize the technology in about two years. The Japanese newspaper says Toshiba will conduct trials of the new process with partner Kazatomprom, Kazakhstan’s state-run nuclear company. Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp. is providing part of the project’s financing. Toshiba will use electrolysis to extract dysprosium and neodymium, which are used in high-strength magnets for electric motors in hybrid vehicles, and rhenium, which is used in jet engines, The Nikkei says. The process reduces waste and costs about one-fifth as much as mining rare earth.

Automakers and other manufacturers have been looking for new sources of rare earth metals after China restricted exports of the material earlier this year. China has 37% of the world’s rare earth reserves. But it has supplied more than 95% of the
material in recent years as other countries shied away from the toxic nature of such mines.

Earlier this month, Toshiba signed a memorandum of understanding with Mongolia to explore the potential for mining uranium and rare earth minerals there.

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