In-situ leaching AKA nuclear fracking.

I have recently heard of this method of leaching nuclear ores when I was studying nuclear energy technology.

Essentially, leaching is the process of using a acid or alkaline to absorb uranium from its ore so it can be further processed.

In-situ leaching is basically a way to do this without having to dig out the ore, it can only be done in situations where the ore is close to underground water sources.

The miners pump leaching liquid, usually sulphuric acid, as close to the ore as possible, and then pump it back up when it’s finished soaking up uranium.

Here is a link which explains it better.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Sorry, but the only time I have leached anything from a rock was when I used granite pieces to hold down the cucumbers and green tomatoes I was fermenting in glass jars. As the vegetables fermented they of course produced lactic acid which dissolved the surface of my pink granite. The vegetables were nasty, I had to dump them in the compost. I returned the rocks to the union hall landscape where I'd picked them up. ;)

I've seen the results of leaching gold, molecular gold, out of rocks and soil. The resulting landscape is the unholiest thing I've ever seen. Good god, even in Hiroshima plants re-inhabited the site. But in the gold leaching site I saw at Elko, Nevada, I would be surprised if any thing was able to grow.

Now, I haven't studied nuclear energy technology, nor even physical chemistry, but here is a little Wikipedia intro to how to wring every last gold molecule out of the earth and leave behind a poisonous hellhole.

Those sites do look like hell on earth; worse than Mordor.

But life will return to the earth. It always does. If you're willing to wait a few million years.