A sustainable uranium production cycle is essential for nuclear energy. This involves activities from exploration to the choice of mining and processing technology, from prefeasibility studies to the construction, operation and appropriate closure of mines. As well as ensuring a steady fuel supply, a sustainable uranium production cycle also addresses the need to minimize environmental and social impacts with good practices at all stages of the cycle. These and other topics will be discussed by uranium experts at an International Symposium opening in Vienna today.
The International Symposium on Uranium Raw Material for the Nuclear Fuel Cycle: Exploration, Mining, Production, Supply and Demand, Economics and Environmental Issues, is being hosted by the IAEA at its headquarters in Vienna from 23 to 27 June 2014. Also known as URAM-2014, the purpose of this symposium is to analyse uranium supply-demand scenarios and to present and discuss new developments in uranium geology, exploration, mining and processing, as well as in environmental requirements for uranium operations and site decommissioning. Aspects of uranium production from unconventional resources, such as phosphates and seawater, thorium resources as well as rare-earth element associated resources of thorium and uranium will be discussed.
URAM 2014 will also provide a platform for discussions on long-term supply of uranium resources that can be delivered to the marketplace at competitive prices for nuclear power. Delegates attending the Symposium will also be exchanging information on new exploration technologies and tools, aiding a better understanding of the genesis of uranium ores, required to discover often deep-seated and increasingly hard to find uranium deposits. In addition, ensuring that exploration, mining and milling technologies are environmentally benign, and site decommissioning plans meet the requirements of increasingly stringent environmental regulations and societal expectations, are among the other topics that will be covered in URAM 2014.
Over 90 oral papers and nearly 100 poster papers will be presented at the 5-day Symposium, with around 300 delegates attending from around the world. Abstracts and the majority of presentations will be available on an IAEA webpage immediately after the meeting, and the edited proceedings will be produced for formal publication to be available in 2015.
The IAEA has long been involved in setting standards as well as providing guidelines and advice to international uranium production cycle activities. It has organised many events and activities ranging from international symposiums to technical meetings and trainings to further best practice related to uranium production cycle activities. The IAEA is also an authoritative data source on global uranium resources and production, publishing periodic reports and databases.