Producing nuclear energy is a highly-engineered, specialized discipline. Yet, when you get right down to it, the source of that energy is uranium. Uranium comes from the earth. Uranium ore is a mineral. It is part of nature, just like everything else on this earth.
In graduate school, I chose to study mineral chemistry. Today, I am devoting this blog post to the intersection between minerals, mining and nuclear energy. With videos.
The first video explains how companies explore for uranium. The second is an overview of uranium mining and milling technology. I hope you enjoy these videos.
Exploring for Uranium
Fission Uranium Corp PLS 3D Fly-Through from Fission Uranium Corp. on Vimeo.
Mining and Milling Uranium
From the Heritage Foundation:
Geology and Me
When I was in grad school, I worked toward a Ph.D. in geochemistry. My thesis advisor, Dr. Ole Kleppa, granted degrees in chemistry and in geology. I have always been very interested in minerals, geochemistry, and mining.
Another connection. My husband's family were hardrock miners. The Angwins come from Cornwall, where they have been miners for generations. Maybe "generations" is too short a description. "Thousands of years"might be better? At any rate, whether or not the Angwins were mining it, tin has been mined in Cornwall since the early bronze age (2000 B.C.E.)
I hope that someday I can meet one of my husband's cousins: Michael Angwin of the Australian Uranium Association. Another mining connection.
ANS Nuclear Cafe hosted an excellent "nuclear matinee" on uranium mining, this summer.
People interested in uranium and the fuel cycle will probably enjoy following Andrea Jennetta's blog: I Dig U Mining. I especially recommend her latest post: Uranium Opponents Ask the Wrong Questions.
I did not complete my Ph.D. degree with Dr. Kleppa. I only have a master's degree. Don't introduce me as "Dr. Angwin." It's wrong.