IAEA Trains Geoscientists in Uranium Exploration

Workshop participants
at the San Rafael mine in Argentina.
(Photo: National Atomic Energy Commission of

19 May 2016 |  Uranium, the raw material for fuel for nuclear power reactors, is a natural resource that can be found in many regions in the world. However, many countries do not have the capabilities to explore for uranium. In order to develop the expertise to carry out this activity geoscientists must undergo additional training.

Last month, the IAEA, along with the National Atomic Energy Commission of Argentina (CNEA), held a training workshop focusing on uranium exploration for over 70 geoscientists from 14 Member States. The workshop, held in Mendoza, Argentina, included a field visit to the San Rafael mine, where there has been historical uranium production.

The purpose of the workshop was to provide an overview of uranium exploration methods ranging from practical basic knowledge to more recently developed techniques. Subjects covered included uranium deposit classification, uranium resource classification, geophysical, geochemical, and other methods for exploration, evaluation and discovery of uranium deposits. The radiologicaland social aspects of uranium exploration were also covered.

“This training was targeted primarily to those who are newly engaged in the uranium exploration industry,” said Adrienne Hanly, Uranium Resource Specialist at the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy. “Participants can now be expected to have enough general knowledge to understand the basic principles needed to initiate an exploration program in their home country.”

“This training programme was essential for me to improve my knowledge about uranium exploration,” said Luciana Higa, a geologist at the CNEA Exploration Office. “It is important for geologists to learn about new exploration and production techniques that are being conducted in other parts of the world. The workshop was also a good opportunity to interact with colleagues and experts from other countries.”

“This workshop is a milestone in the history of Argentina’s activities within the uranium production cycle. It brought together local professionals and technicians, which will aid to improve the development of the exploration projects in Argentina,” said Luis López, Project Manager at the CNEA.

The IAEA works with Member States to formulate innovative projects for the development of new uranium resources, applying the best practices in uranium exploration and pursuing the aim of producing uranium as a raw material for nuclear fuel fabrication.

The presentations from the Training Workshop on Uranium Exploration Methods can be found here .

--By Lenka Kollar, IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy

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