Uranium processing
Uranium concentrate powder (also known as yellowcake or urania). Photo: J-M. Taillat, Areva.

Uranium is the raw material used for nuclear energy generation. It is mined and further processed to make up the highly engineered fuel that is used in nuclear reactors.

While environmental concerns and radiological protection in uranium mining are often at the forefront of stakeholder engagement, there is usually little public discussion about the influence of the uranium mining industry on economic and social development.

Mining in general is a critical economic driver in many countries, accounting for a major percentage of foreign direct investment, mineral exports and government revenue. A mining project can bring benefits to the local and national economies, including economic development, jobs, investment in infrastructure, mining product exports, royalties and tax revenues, education and medical care. These contributions can act as an economic catalyst in support of the development of communities, regions and whole economies.

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NEA work on this topic

Under the direction of the Nuclear Development Committee, the NEA contributes to technological and economic studies in uranium through the Joint NEA/IAEA Group on Uranium (UG)  and the Expert Group on Uranium Mining and Economic Development (UMED)