Introduction :: Mining uranium
Uranium is the basic raw material of both civilian and military nuclear programmes.
It is extracted from either open-cast pits or by underground mining. Although uranium occurs naturally all over the world, only a small fraction is found in concentrated ores.
When certain atoms of uranium are split in a chain reaction, energy is released. This process is called nuclear fission.
In a nuclear power station this fission occurs slowly, while in a nuclear weapon, very rapidly. In both instances, fission must be very carefully controlled.