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Wednesday, 17th June 2009
In General Japan News,

Japanese scientists plan 'uranium farming' technique

Scientists working on behalf of the Japanese government are to design a series of undersea devices designed to harvest uranium.

The Telegraph reports that the Japan Atomic Energy Agency is to create large sponges made from a form of irradiated polythene that will soak up naturally occurring uranium that exists in ocean water.

It is hoped the new technology will allow Japan to end its reliance on imports and environmentally damaging mining techniques to supply materials for its nuclear power operations.

Dr Masao Tanada of the energy agency said: "At the moment, Japan has to rely on imports of uranium from Canada and Australia, but this technology could be commercially deployed in as little as five years."

The project is to be deployed off Japan's eastern coast to take advantage of the Kuroshio Current.

Energy matters were also discussed by Japan's environmental ministers earlier this week when they met with Chinese and Korean representatives in Beijing for the 11th Tripartite Environmental Ministers Meeting.

Written by Susan Ballion