Getting Uranium Producers on the Same Page

IAEA General Conference

Miners drilling shot holes so they can blast out the uranium-bearing rock at a uranium mine that reaches some 1200 metres below the surface in the Czech Republic. (Photo: D. Calma/IAEA)

Soon there will be one system for the evaluation and reporting of uranium resources. Or at least that's the plan.

This year at the IAEA's 57th Annual General Conference in Vienna, Austria, the UN unveiled a new system for classifying, estimating and reporting how much uranium is available within a particular location. This system also applies to the evaluation of oil, gas, coal and thorium reserves.

But trying to get the many uranium-producing countries around the world to adopt this new system could be an uphill battle, since for decades they have used their own systems, which are largely incompatible with each other and lack uniformity.

The UN Economic Commission for Europe (that designed the new scheme on behalf of the UN) and the IAEA are working together to create step-by-step training manuals that will guide countries in the conversion and adoption process. It is hoped this will help sell the standardization concept to the relevant countries and authorities.

"When the system is universally adopted, this kind of standardization will help potential uranium miners more easily determine which projects are the most viable and aid in projections of future fuel supply to nuclear power plants," says Harikrishnan Tulsidas, Nuclear Technology Specialist in the IAEA's Nuclear Fuel Cycle and Materials Section.

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Last update: 2 November 2014