Uranium ore. How do they extract uranium ore. Uranium ore in Russia
When the radioactive elements of the table were openedMendeleyev, a man eventually came up with an application for them. So it happened with uranium. It was used both for military and for peaceful purposes. Uranium ore was processed, the resulting element was used in the paint and glass industry. After its radioactivity was discovered, it was used in nuclear power engineering. How clean and green is the fuel? This is still debated.
In the nature of uranium in its pure form does not exist - itis a component of ore and minerals. The main uranium ore is carnitol and pitchwood. Also significant deposits of this strategic chemical element are found in rare-earth and peat minerals - orte, titanite, zircon, monazite, xenotime. Deposits of uranium can be found in rocks with acidic medium and high concentrations of silicon. Its satellites are calcite, galena, molybdenite, etc.
World deposits and reserves
To date, manydeposits in the 20-km layer of the earth's surface. All of them contain a huge number of tons of uranium. This amount is able to provide humanity with energy for many hundreds of years ahead. The leading countries, in which the uranium ore is the largest, are Australia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Canada, South Africa, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, USA, Brazil, Namibia.
Types of uranium
Radioactivity determines the propertieschemical element. Natural uranium makes up three of its isotopes. Two of them are the ancestors of radioactive series. Natural uranium isotopes are used to create fuel for nuclear reactions and weapons. Also, uranium-238 serves as raw material for the production of plutonium-239.
Uranium isotopes U234 are daughter nuclidesU238. They are recognized as the most active and provide strong radiation. The isotope U235 is 21 times weaker, although it is successfully used for the above purposes - it has the ability to support a nuclear chain reaction without additional catalysts.
In addition to natural, there are also artificialisotopes of uranium. Today, 23 of them are known, the most important of them is U233. It is distinguished by the ability to activate under the influence of slow neutrons, whereas for others, fast particles are required.
Classification of ore
Although uranium can be found almost everywhere -even in living organisms - the layers in which it is contained may be of different types. The ways of mining depend on this. Uranium ore is classified according to the following parameters:
- The conditions of formation are endogenous, exogenous and metamorphogenic ores.
- The nature of uranium mineralization is primary, oxidized and mixed uranium ore.
- The size of aggregates and grains of minerals is coarse-grained, medium-grained, fine-grained, fine-grained and dispersed ore fractions.
- The usefulness of impurities is molybdenum, vanadium, etc.
- The composition of the impurities is carbonate, silicate, sulphide, iron oxide, caustobiolithic.
Depending on how it is classifieduranium ore, there is a way to extract a chemical element from it. Silicate is treated with various acids, carbonate - soda solutions, caustobiolithic enriched by combustion, and iron oxide melts in the blast furnace.
How uranium ore is mined
As in any mining business, there isa certain technology and methods for extracting uranium from the rock. Everything depends also on which isotope is in the lithosphere. The extraction of uranium ore is carried out in three ways. It is economically justified to separate the element from the rock with a content of 0.05-0.5%. There is a mining, quarrying and leaching method of extraction. The application of each of them depends on the composition of isotopes and the depth of occurrence of the rock. Quarry mining of uranium ore is possible at shallow deposition. The risk of exposure is minimal. There are no problems with the technique - bulldozers, loaders, dump trucks are widely used.
Mine extraction is more complicated. This method is used when the element lies at a depth of 2 kilometers and economic profitability. The breed must contain a high concentration of uranium, in order to extract it was advisable. The tunnel provides maximum safety, this is due to the way uranium ore is mined underground. Workers are provided with overalls, the operating mode is strictly limited. The shafts are equipped with elevators, reinforced ventilation.
Leaching - the third method - the most pure withenvironmental point of view and safety of employees of the mining enterprise. A special chemical solution is pumped through the system of drilled wells. It dissolves in the formation and is saturated with uranium compounds. Then the solution is pumped out and sent to the processing enterprises. This method is more progressive, it allows you to reduce economic costs, although there are a number of limitations for its application.
Deposits in Ukraine
The country turned out to be a happy ownerdeposits of the element from which nuclear fuel is produced. According to forecasts, Ukraine's uranium ore contains up to 235 tons of raw materials. At present, only the deposits, which contain about 65 tons, have been confirmed. A certain amount has already been worked out. Part of the uranium is used inside the country, part of it is exported.
The main deposit is Kirovograduranium ore district. The content of uranium is small - from 0.05 to 0.1% per ton of rock, so the high cost of the material. As a result, the received raw materials are exchanged in Russia for finished fuel elements for power plants.
The second major deposit isNovokonstantinovsky. The content of uranium in the rock allowed to reduce the prime cost in comparison with Kirovograd almost in 2 times. However, since the 90s no development has been carried out, all the mines have been flooded. In connection with the aggravation of political relations with Russia, Ukraine can remain without fuel for nuclear power plants.
Russian uranium ore
In terms of uranium mining, the Russian Federation isthe fifth place among other countries of the world. The most famous and powerful are Khiagdinsky, Kolichkan, Istochnoye, Koretkondinsky, Namarusskoye, Dobrynskoye (Republic of Buryatia), Argun, Zherlovoye (Chita region). In the Chita region, 93% of all Russian uranium mined is produced (mainly mining and mining).
The situation in the Buryatia and Kurgan fields is slightly different. Uranium ore in Russia in these regions lies in such a way that it makes it possible to extract raw materials by leaching.
A total of 830 tons of deposits are forecasted in Russiauranium, there are about 615 tons of confirmed reserves. It is still a deposit in Yakutia, Karelia and other regions. Since uranium is a strategic world raw material, figures may be inaccurate, since many data are classified, only a certain category of people have access to them.