The future of Yellowcake: A global assessment of uranium resources and mining

Mudd, G 2014, 'The future of Yellowcake: A global assessment of uranium resources and mining', Science of the Total Environment, vol. 472, pp. 590-607.

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title The future of Yellowcake: A global assessment of uranium resources and mining
Author(s) Mudd, G
Year 2014
Journal name Science of the Total Environment
Volume number 472
Start page 590
End page 607
Total pages 18
Publisher Elsevier
Abstract Uranium (U) mining remains controversial in many parts of the world, especially in a post-Fukushima context, and often in areas with significant U resources. Although nuclear proponents point to the relatively low carbon intensity of nuclear power compared to fossil fuels, opponents argue that this will be eroded in the future as ore grades decline and energy and greenhouse gas emissions (GGEs) intensity increases as a result. Invariably both sides fail to make use of the increasingly available data reported by some U mines through sustainability reporting - allowing a comprehensive assessment of recent trends in the energy and GGE intensity of U production, as well as combining this with reported mineral resources to allow more comprehensive modelling of future energy and GGEs intensity. In this study, detailed data sets are compiled on reported U resources by deposit type, as well as mine production, energy and GGE intensity. Some important aspects included are the relationship between ore grade, deposit type and recovery, which are crucial in future projections of U mining. Overall, the paper demonstrates that there are extensive U resources known to meet potential short to medium term demand, although the future of U mining remains uncertain due to the doubt about the future of nuclear power as well as a range of complex social, environmental, economic and some site-specific technical issues.
Subject Environmental Engineering not elsewhere classified
Resources Engineering and Extractive Metallurgy not elsewhere classified
Keyword(s) Energy intensity
Greenhouse gas emissions
Mine rehabilitation
Nuclear power
Uranium mining
Uranium resources
DOI - identifier 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2013.11.070
Copyright notice © 2013 Elsevier B.V.
ISSN 0048-9697
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