What is uranium?
Uranium is a dense metal that commonly occurs in the Earth’s crust at concentrates ranging from 2 to 4 parts per million. Due to its slow radioactive decay, uranium provides the main source of heat within the Earth.
Uranium naturally occurs as two main isotopes U238 (99.3%) and U235 (0.7%).
What is yellowcake?
Yellow cake is the term used for to describe the milled uranium product after the majority of impurities have been removed. This yellow coloured powder is typically produced at the mine site by metallurgical processes to form uranium oxide U3O8 concentrate. The powder is then packaged into containers in preparation for transport. Further enrichment is then required for nuclear power generation.
What do we use uranium for?
Uranium is most commonly used in the generation of nuclear and electricity. In addition to this, Radioisotopes that are produced from uranium have many other uses across a range of industries including:
- Scientific research
- Household products such as smoke detectors, photocopiers, watches, clocks, televisions, computers and cosmetics
- Agriculture such as pest control
- Engineering in the construction of aircraft and automobiles
- Mining and oil during the exploration process
What countries are the leading producers of uranium?
Canada, Australia, Kazakhstan, Niger, Russia and Namibia are largest producers of uranium.