August 2, 2022

How Does Uranium in Nuclear Power Production Work?

Uranium is one of many chemical elements available on the planet, mined in many different ways. There are different versions of an element, and in the case of uranium, it can be used in various ways. Nuclear power plants mainly utilize uranium, with several countries having their own reactors for it.

To name a few, besides America, Finland, Sweden and Ukraine also rely on uranium as a source of nuclear power. If you want to learn even just a little more about how uranium works in nuclear power production, continue reading to learn more.

How Is Uranium Utilized in Nuclear Reactors?

Uranium has to be present in a high concentration to be utilized in a power plant. Once the concentration of uranium is high enough, it’s then converted into fuel rods. Once a sufficient number of these rods are gathered, that’s the time when the plant can be used.

The nuclear power plant will then, through a process called fission, convert the uranium into heat. The heat is then converted into electricity and radioisotopes. While uranium is the most common version used in a reactor, it’s certainly not the only version. However, it is one of the most known and reliable elements to utilize worldwide.

What Are Other Uses of Uranium?

There are several other ways that uranium can be utilized in a nuclear reactor. For example, in the past, uranium has been used in nuclear weapons. These weapons can be exceedingly destructive if used in the wrong way, which has encouraged the regulation of this production.

When compared to other energy forms, nuclear power from uranium can be a good alternative to petroleum and other fossil fuels. It can also be used in armour for tanks, making them more resistant to explosives. There’s also research ongoing about how uranium might be able to help the field of medicine.

Who Produces Uranium?

Uranium is found in about 40 countries across the world, with many other locations with rich deposits of this element having it as a source of income as a result. Some of the most prolific countries for uranium include Australia and Kazakhstan, boasting more than 10% of the world’s uranium resources. The USA produces just 1% of the world’s uranium resources, similar to Jordan, Tanzania, and Botswana.

Granted, the way that the product is stored makes a huge impact on the environment, and uranium needs to be stored safely. If it isn’t stored properly, it can contaminate the environment, which will certainly harm the people who live there.

If the location where the product is stored isn’t a good one, it can also have a negative effect on the environment. If the uranium is stored in a location that isn’t well regulated, it can easily be contaminated, notably in the presence of moisture. 

Conclusion

Uranium is recognized as a useful but delicate chemical element. While there are a few controversies surrounding the element, it has proven to be a useful one over the decades, especially when it’s in a nuclear power plant.

Want to know more about American uranium production? US domestic uranium developer enCore Uranium is focused on becoming a leading in-situ recovery uranium producer. Learn more today.