Member Login

World Nuclear Transport Institute

Uranium Mining and Refining

Uranium, a common ore found in the earth's crust, is extracted for use as nuclear fuel in nuclear reactors. Concentrations of uranium are found mainly in North America, Australia, Southern Africa and Central Asia. The ore (which contains many other minerals) is mined and transported to the uranium mills, normally on the mine site. Here, the ore is ground into a powder and the uranium is separated and purified to produce a dry powder of uranium oxide known as uranium ore concentrate (UOC). These concentrates, generally known as "yellow cake" because of their colour, are then transported (by rail, road and sea) in sealed 210 litre drums in standard sea freight containers to chemical conversion plants.

Related Images

Ranger Mine, Courtesy of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA)
Transportation at the Ranger Mine, Courtesy of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA)
Ranger Mine work, Courtesy of Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA)
Uranium Ore Concentrate, Courtesy of the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority
Drums of uranium mill concentrates, Courtesy of Cameco
Uranium Concentrate Drums , Courtesy of Cameco

Related Publications

Fact Sheet
Safety Regulations Governing Radioactive Materials Transport
Fact Sheet
Package Types used for Transporting Radioactive Materials
Fact Sheet
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Transport - Front End Materials
Fact Sheet
Quick facts on the transport of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Transport
Fact Sheet
The Safe Transport of Uranium Ore Concentrates
Information Paper
Radioactive Materials Transport - The International Safety Regime
Information Paper
Radiation Dose Assessment for the Transport of Nuclear Fuel Cycle Materials
Information Paper
Radioactive Materials Transport - Industry Experience
Information Paper
Nuclear Fuel Cycle Transport - The IAEA Regulations and their Relevance to Severe Accidents
Good Practice Guide
Radiation Protection Programmes for Road Carriers, Sea Carriers and Port Handlers
Uranium Concentrates Industry Good Practices for ISO Containers in Multimodal Transports - Revision 0

WNTI Headquarters

Aviation House
125 Kingsway
London, WC2B 6NH
T +44 (0)207 580 1144
F +44 (0)207 580 5365

Other Offices

Washington DC
Southern Africa

Our Offices: