BBC NEWS | INDEPTH | THE NUCLEAR FUEL CYCLE

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.

…(read more).

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