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Uranium What is Uranium Uranium Geology Uranium Deposits Uranium Resources Uranium Mining Uranium Logs

Uranium


Uranium

Wyoming is home to the largest known uranium ore reserves in the United States. The state also ranks No. 1 in uranium production, accounting for about two-thirds (1.93 million pounds) of all uranium produced in the nation in 2016. Wyoming has benefited economically from the uranium industry through an influx of jobs, tax revenues, and overall economic growth.

Uranium is a highly valued energy resource found in numerous minerals and with major occurrences in Wyoming. Since the 1940s, the heavy metal has been used as a strategic military commodity and for nuclear power generation. Uranium is an important energy resource because a small quantity can produce a large amount of energy with relatively low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Its radioactive properties were utilized in making the world’s first nuclear weapons, which brought an end to World War II. Since then, an entire industry has been built around its mining, processing, and utilization, with Wyoming playing a significant role in the industry when it comes to mining the ore.

Nuclear

Worldwide, the use of uranium for electrical generation has expanded and is expected to continue as demand for electricity increases. Because of the demand for this global commodity and its reserves, Wyoming is likely to benefit from an increase in the state's production. There are currently six active mining operations in Wyoming (five in the Powder River Basin and one in the Great Divide Basin) and more than 20 new projects in various stages of regulatory review.

Wyoming began commercially mining uranium in the 1950s and has since produced nearly a quarter of a billion pounds of uranium concentrate (U3O8), also known as yellowcake.

Uranium can be found in numerous minerals and occurs nearly everywhere on the planet, even in seawater. Uranium ore deposits occur in many of Wyoming's sedimentary basins, with smaller occurrences found throughout the state. Uranium is usually found in porous sedimentary rocks such as sandstones, arkoses, or conglomerates, but some deposits are also associated with igneous and metamorphic rocks.





Uranium Facts

  • Symbol – U
  • Atomic number – 92 (number of protons in the nucleus)
  • Atomic weight – 238.3 atomic mass units
  • Density – 19.05 grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm3)
  • Group name – Actinide (belonging to the Actinium series)
  • Global abundance - (estimated)
  • Crustal rocks – 1.8 ppm* by weight (parts per million (ppm))
  • Sea water – 3.3 ppm*
  • Human body (average) – 1 ppm
  • *10,000 ppm = 1 percent; 1.8 ppm = 0.00018 percent
  • Common Uranium Ore Minerals
    • Autunite – Ca(UO2)(PO4)2▪10-12(H2O)
    • Carnotite – K2(UO2)2(VO)4▪3(H2O)
    • Coffinite – USiO4
    • Tyuyamunite – Ca(UO2)2(VO4)2▪5-8H2O
    • Uraninite – UO2
    • Uranophane – Ca(UO2)2SiO3(OH)2▪5(H2O)

Recent Uranium Publications


Uranium:Geology and Applications

“Nuclear power is becoming more attractive as an energy source because it is cleaner and over the long term, may be more reliable than fossil fuels resources,” says Robert Gregory, WSGS geologist.




Contact:
Robert Gregory (307) 766-2286 Ext. 237