Clean Energy

The vital importance of uranium

Uranium is the heaviest and most dense naturally-occurring element. It commonly occurs in the Earth's crust at concentrations 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 is used primarily in nuclear power reactors for the production of electricity.

Nuclear is the cleanest, greenest form of baseload power generation known to humankind, and NexGen will play a leadership role in delivering the clean energy fuel to current and future generations.

Uranium naturally occurs as two main isotopes U238 (99.3%) and U235 (0.7%), and the latter is used for nuclear energy.

What do we use uranium for?

Uranium is most commonly used in the generation of nuclear power and electricity. In addition to this, radioisotopes that are produced from uranium have many other uses across a range of industries including:

  • Medicine
  • 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?

Uranium mines operate in 20 countries with half of global production coming from just 10 mines in 6 countries. These 6 countries are: Kazakhstan, Canada, Australia, Namibia, Uzbekistan, and Niger.

Canada is the third largest producer and accounts for nearly 8% of the world's uranium output. More uranium has been mined from Canada than in any other country. The Athabasca Basin is home to the richest endowment of uranium on Earth.*

*World Nuclear Association, Sept 2021

The need for Uranium

The International Energy Agency forecasts indicate that the global demand for electricity could increase by up to 90% by 2040, resulting in increased GHG emissions due to the ongoing reliance on fossil fuels. A significant increase in uranium is needed to support the transition to nuclear electrical generating capacity, which has lower carbon emissions.

Picture of Uranium
Picture sunset with pink color dusty road and clouds

Canada's uranium supply

All of Canada’s uranium supply is mined in Saskatchewan (Canada Energy Regulator 2021), with Canadian mined and milled uranium already helping to eliminate approximately 300 megatonnes to 500 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions worldwide annually (International Atomic Energy Agency Ministerial Conference 2017).