As the world’s hunger for energy grows there is an increasing concern over the effect that the burning of fossil fuels has on our environment. The resulting search for cleaner, more efficient energy sources has placed a focus on nuclear power and its fuel: uranium.
Coal plant emitting pollutants.
When fossil fuels such as coal or oil are burned to create energy, billions of tons of toxic emissions are released into the atmosphere. In contrast, a nuclear reactor emits no pollutants into the air and requires a fraction of the amount of its fuel, uranium, to produce the same amounts of energy from burning oil, natural gas or coal. For example, a typical pellet of uranium weighs approximately 7 grams and can generate as much energy as 3.5 barrels of oil, 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, or 1,780 pounds of coal.
16% of the world’s electricity is currently supplied by nuclear reactors and this number is expected to increase over the next few decades as more reactors come online. It is believed that this will put an upward pressure on the demand for uranium resources, a demand which can only be met in the long term through investment in exploration and new uranium mines.