The many aspects of uranium, a heavy radioactive metal used to generate electricity throughout the world, are briefly described in relatively simple terms intended for the lay reader. An adequate glossary of unfamiliar terms is given. Uranium is a new source of electrical energy developed since 1950, and how we harness energy from it is explained. It competes with the organic coal, oil, and gas fuels as shown graphically. Uranium resources and production for the world are tabulated and discussed by country and for various energy regions in the United States. Locations of major uranium deposits and power reactors in the United States are mapped. The nuclear fuel-cycle of uranium for a typical light-water reactor is illustrated at the front end-beginning with its natural geologic occurrence in rocks through discovery, mining, and milling; separation of the scarce isotope U-235, its enrichment, and manufacture into fuel rods for power reactors to generate electricity-and at the back end-the reprocessing and handling of the spent fuel. Environmental concerns with the entire fuel cycle are addressed. The future of the use of uranium in new, simplified, 'passively safe' reactors for the utility industry is examined. The present resource assessment of uranium in the United States is out of date, and a new assessment could aid the domestic uranium industry.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Uranium, its impact on the national and global energy mix; and its history, distribution, production, nuclear fuel-cycle, future, and relation to the environment
U.S. G.P.O. ;
Free on application to U.S. Geological Survey, Information Services,