Advanced Photocatalytic Uranium Extraction Strategies: Progress, Challenges, and Prospects
Nuclear energy with low carbon emission and high-energy density is considered as one of the most promising future energy sources for human beings. However, the use of nuclear energy will inevitably lead to the discharge of nuclear waste and the consumption of uranium resources. Therefore, the development of simple, efficient, and economical uranium extraction methods is of great significance for the sustainable development of nuclear energy and the restoration of the ecological environment. Photocatalytic U(VI) extraction technology as a simple, highly efficient, and low-cost strategy, received increasing attention from researchers. In this review, the development background of photocatalytic U(VI) extraction and several photocatalytic U(VI) reduction mechanisms are briefly described and the identification methods of uranium species after photocatalytic reduction are addressed. Subsequently, the modification strategies of several catalysts used for U(VI) extraction are summarized and the advantages and disadvantages of photocatalytic U(VI) extraction are compared. Additionally, the research progress of photocatalytic technology for U(VI) extraction in actual uranium-containing wastewater and seawater are evaluated. Finally, the current challenges and the developments of photocatalytic U(VI) extraction technology in the future are prospected.