Nuclear energy and uranium have been around for quite some time. However, it’s still shockingly misunderstood by many people. It’s essentially a type of heavy metal that’s been used as an abundant source of concentrated energy for decades now. To help more people understand what uranium is and what role it plays in the energy industry, we’ve compiled a quick guide on its many applications.
What is Uranium?
Uranium is a member of the heavy metal group known as actinides. It and a few other heavy metals are radioactive and often decay into other elements, such as helium and radium. Uranium isn’t quite as common as lighter metals, such as copper and lead. However, it’s still plentiful enough for use in the modern world.
What Does Uranium Do?
Uranium is one of the most important elements on Earth. It produces enormous amounts of heat and radiation, which is used to fuel nuclear power plants. It’s also used to produce various types of radiation and radioisotopes, which have been used to diagnose or treat various diseases.
Uranium and Its Applications
While uranium is best known for its use in nuclear energy and weaponry, the metal and its radioactive properties are widely used in many other applications.
Nuclear Energy – Nuclear power plants use uranium as the basis for their energy. In power plants, uranium is converted into a gas and then used to heat water to produce steam, which turns the turbines that create electricity.
Uranium Mining – Uranium is mined in several ways but is often extracted from an ore that is found in rich concentrations within rocks and ores. In this form, uranium is removed from the ore through a process known as beneficiation. This process is quite expensive, as the waste material from uranium mining is often radioactive and toxic.
Diagnosis of Diseases – Radioactive isotopes of uranium are used to diagnose a range of diseases and medical conditions like rheumatoid arthritis. These radioisotopes are injected into the body, where they emit radiation that can be detected by special equipment. This emission can be used to determine the location of various rheumatoid arthritis-related tumors or cancerous cells.
Uranium is also used to diagnose bone tumors, including tumors that originate in the bone and soft tissues. In this case, they’re usually injected directly into the bone that holds the tumor. The radioactive isotopes emit radiation, which is picked up by special equipment. This radiation can then be used to determine where the tumors are in the body and how severe they are.
Radioisotope Therapies – While not widely known or used, the radioactive properties of uranium can be used to detect and treat various diseases. Radioactive uranium is injected into specific people, where it emits radiation that is detected by special equipment. That radiation can then be used to locate and destroy various tumors and cancerous cells in the body.
Military Weapons – Nuclear bombs use uranium or plutonium as the main ingredient. The uranium and plutonium are highly enriched and compressed into a very dense mass, which is set off, resulting in a huge explosion.
Uranium is one of the most important elements on our planet and one of the most powerful sources of energy. It’s all around us but isn’t often recognized as a powerful natural resource. Certain applications of uranium are so useful that we owe its existence to making the world a better place. By understanding more about uranium, we can better understand how to use it safely to help us make the world a better place.
enCore Energy holds a portfolio of uranium assets located in Texas, New Mexico, Wyoming, Utah, and Arizona. We are on the verge of becoming the leading uranium ISR producer in the country with a lot of projects on the pipeline. If you want to know more about nuclear energy and uranium production, subscribe now for updates.