Nuclear fuel mining is mining of uranium and thorium, which are widely used nuclear fuels found in the earth’s crust. Especially, uranium is used on a large scale and it is found naturally, with an average concentration of 2.8 parts per million (ppm) in the earth’s crust.
Uranium is more abundant than silver, mercury, and gold. Also, large amounts of uranium are found in oceans, with low concentrations.
In case of nuclear fuel mining, special mining techniques are employed; for example, dust suppression and remote handling. These techniques help protect workers from exposure to radiations and ensure safety of the general public as well as environment.
According to World Nuclear Association, approximately 10% of the world’s electricity is generated by about 440 nuclear power reactors. Also, 50 more reactors are under construction, with their capacity equivalent to approximately 15% of the existing capacity.
Key drivers of global nuclear fuel mining market
Nuclear fuel mining witnesses high demand globally, owing to rising demand for nuclear fuel. Increasing demand for power led by growth in population and industrialization is anticipated to fuel the global nuclear fuel mining market during the forecast period.
Also, rising demand for clean energy is estimated to boost the demand for nuclear fuel mining in the near future, as nuclear fuel is the world’s second-largest source of low-carbon power generation. In 2018, 12 countries worldwide fulfilled at least 25% of their electricity demand from nuclear fuel.
However, high initial investments, government regulations, and health hazards is estimated to act as a restraining factor for the global nuclear fuel mining market during the forecast period
In October 2019, the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) has found high levels of uranium concentration in groundwater samples across the Lambapur-Peddagattu region, known for large uranium deposits, in Nalgonda district of the Telangana state of India. The Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) plans to set up an open pit and three underground mines in Telangana.
Based on region, the global nuclear fuel mining market can be segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa.
Europe is anticipated to dominate the global nuclear fuel mining market during the forecast period, as the region has the maximum number of uranium-producing mines. In Kazakhstan, uranium mining is carried at four locations. The country produced around 8,255 tons of uranium in 2018. Also, nuclear power facilities have been developed in Finland, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, and the U.K. this is likely to boost the market for nuclear fuel mining in Europe during the forecast period.
Asia Pacific is anticipated to hold a considerable share of the global nuclear fuel mining market between 2019 and 2027. Nuclear fuel mining and exploration activities are carried out in China, Bangladesh, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and Thailand. Also, China, India, and Japan are developing their own nuclear power generation capacities.
North America is anticipated to account for a considerable share of the global nuclear fuel mining market during the forecast period. Moreover, the US is anticipated to be the leading producer of nuclear power in the next few years, accounting for more than 30 per cent share of global nuclear power generation.
Middle East & Africa and Latin America are estimated to hold a minor share of the global nuclear fuel mining market during the forecast period. In Middle East & Africa, uranium mining is carried out in Niger and Namibia.
Source: https://industrialit.com.au/Tags: Mining, Nuclear Fuel, Power Reactors, Uranium