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A milestones approach to uranium mining and development: an IAEA initiative

Jun 27, 2018, 10:20 AM


ORAL Track 12. Uranium newcomers Uranium Newcomers


Dr Peter H. Woods (IAEA)


OVERVIEW Many IAEA Member States without current uranium production activity have expressed interest in uranium mining, in order to meet their or other countries’ energy needs. To introduce or reintroduce uranium mining and processing, a wide range of issues needs to be considered. With the assistance of experts from around the world, the IAEA is preparing a guide setting out a milestones approach to the uranium production cycle. This will assist Member States to take a systematic and measured approach to responsible uranium mining and milling. The information in the guide will be provided within the context of other IAEA guidance and materials relevant to development of the Uranium Production Cycle, including the IAEA Safety Standards and Safety Guides Series. Although not the emphasis of the guide, the vital importance of appropriate radiation protection, security and non-proliferation safeguards is acknowledged. In the development of the guide, four generalized stages with associated milestones of preparedness are being considered (subject to amendment): • Those considering exploration or mining of uranium for the first time, or after many years, but without an identified project. • Those seeking to initiate/ reinvigorate uranium mining with one or more identified projects. • Established producers of uranium wishing to enhance existing capacity/capability. • Historic producers with closed sites in the stage of closure and rehabilitation/remediation or aftercare. The situation of Member States will be unique, at least in detail. It is also acknowledged that a given Member State may simultaneously be in more than one of these generalized stages. Nevertheless, the report will comment on common threads and good practices, and assist a Member State to identify areas within a stage where they are less prepared, and give advice for a way forward towards a later stage. However, an important consideration with uranium mining and milling is that uranium ore may or may not be present in a particular Member State. Hence, even with excellent work in uranium exploration, with good policies, legislation, regulation and well-trained experts, a Member State may remain in the earliest stage. This is in contrast to the milestones approach for some other purposes, where the opportunity to progress through the various milestones to their successful implementation is more generally applicable, should a Member State choose. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The uranium production milestones guide will be designed for use around the world, but the specific involvement of African Member States and IAEA’s Technical Cooperation Regional Africa Projects to launch the work is acknowledged. To date, the following experts from around the world have been directly assisting the IAEA in the preparation of the milestones guide. Abbes, N., Groupe Chimique Tunisien, Tunesia Blaise, J.R. , Consultant, France Brown, G., Boswell Capital Corporation, Canada Dunn, G., Hydromet Pty Ltd, South Africa Hama Siddo Abdou, Ministère des Mines, Niger Hilton, J., Aleff Group, United Kingdom Itamba, H., Ministry of Mines and Energy, Namibia Lopez, L., CNEA, Argentina Mwalongo, D., Tanzania Atomic Energy Commission, United Republic of Tanzania Consultancy Meetings were held in Vienna, Austria on 12–14 December 2016 and 4–7 September 2017. It is intended that a full draft document will be made available for comment to the IAEA’s member states during 2018. BIBLIOGRAPHY EUROPEAN COMMISSION, FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION, OECD NUCLEAR ENERGY AGENCY, PAN AMERICAN HEALTH ORGANIZATION, UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME, WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION, Radiation Protection and Safety of Radiation Sources: International Basic Safety Standards, General Safety Requirements Part 3, IAEA Safety Series No. GSR Part 3, IAEA, Vienna (2014). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Steps for preparing uranium production feasibility studies: A guidebook, IAEA-TECDOC-885, IAEA, Vienna (1996). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Environmental Impact Assessment for Uranium Mine, Mill and In Situ Leach Projects, IAEA-TECDOC-979, IAEA, Vienna (1997). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Occupational radiation protection in the mining and processing of raw materials, Safety Guide RS-G-1.6, IAEA, Vienna (2004). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Guidebook on Environmental Impact Assessment for In Situ Leach Mining Projects, IAEA-TECDOC-1428, IAEA, Vienna (2005). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Assessing the Need for Radiation Protection Measures in Work Involving Minerals and Raw Materials, Safety Reports Series 49, IAEA, Vienna (2007) INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Establishment of Uranium Mining and Processing Operations in the Context of Sustainable Development, IAEA Nuclear Energy Series No. NF-T-1.1, IAEA, Vienna (2009). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Best Practice in Environmental Management of Uranium Mining, IAEA Nuclear Energy Series No. NF-T-1.2, IAEA, Vienna (2010). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Specific Considerations and Milestones for a Research Reactor Project, IAEA NP-T-5.1, IAEA, Vienna (2012). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Milestones in the Development of a National Infrastructure for Nuclear Power, IAEA NG-G-3.1 (Rev. 1), IAEA, Vienna (2015). INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY, Nuclear Security in the Uranium Extraction Industry, IAEA- TDL-003, IAEA, Vienna (2016).
Country or International Organization International Atomic Energy Agency

Primary authors

Dr Brett Moldovan (IAEA) Dr Peter H. Woods (IAEA)

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