Uranium Resources

Uranium Markets

Production from world uranium mines has in recent years supplied 90% of the requirements of power utilities. Primary production from mines is supplemented by secondary supplies, principally by ex-military material.

Supply of Uranium

Uranium is a relatively common metal, found in rocks and seawater. Economic concentrations of it are not uncommon.

Geology of Uranium Deposits

Uranium occurs in a number of different igneous, hydrothermal and sedimentary geological environments. The major primary ore mineral is uraninite or pitchblende, though a range of other uranium minerals exist. 

Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel

Weapons-grade uranium and plutonium is being made available for use as civil fuel. Highly-enriched uranium from weapons stockpiles met about 13% of world reactor requirements through to 2013.

Uranium and Depleted Uranium

The basic fuel for a nuclear power reactor is uranium. Uranium occurs naturally in the Earth's crust and is mildly radioactive. Depleted uranium is a by-product from uranium enrichment.

Uranium from Phosphates

Rock phosphate deposits contain many million tonnes of uranium, which may be extracted as a by-product of making fertilisers. The process because uneconomic in the 1990s, but process improvements and higher U prices may change this.

Uranium From Rare Earths Deposits

A large amount of uranium is in rare earths deposits, and may be extracted as a by-product. Higher uranium prices and geopolitical developments would enhance the economic potential for recovering these.

The Cosmic Origins of Uranium

The Earth's uranium has been thought to be produced in one or more supernovae over 6 billion years ago. More recent research suggests it could also be created through the merger of neutron stars.