Uranium Paper

Uranium paper
Despite its early promise, nuclear power remains a minor source of primary world energy supplies as well as electricity — and its share is projected to continue to decline, especially as renewable energy sources enter substantial growth in the coming decade. Although the detailed evaluation of known U resources shows that there is sufficient U to meet expected nuclear power demands by 2050 and beyond (assuming nuclear power continues), this will increasingly have to be from lower grade deposits. A detailed compilation and anal- ysis of the sustainability metrics of U production, such as energy and water inputs and greenhouse gas emission outputs, shows that they are inversely related to ore grade — meaning that as global average ore grades decline the unit intensity of U production will increase, albeit leading to a minor increase in the carbon intensity of nuclear power. In reality, the primary issues affecting U mining will remain the divisive nature of the nuclear debate — principally nuclear weapons, reactor safety (especially versus alternatives such as renewables) and long-term high level nuclear waste management, as well as the continuing success in the ability of the U industry to achieve and demonstrate successful mine remediation and rehabilitation in the eyes of local, indigenous and environmental communities. The article is available through the usual libraries  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24317167 or contact the author directly Gavin.Mudd@monash.edu