The land required for mining enough uranium ore for a nuclear power plant to generate a gigawatt hour (GWh) of electricity
While the enriched uranium fuel that is used in nuclear power plants is relatively small and lightweight compared to every other kind of fuel used in power plants, it does not exist naturally in its pure form. A much larger amount of uranium ore must be excavated and “milled” to create the uranium oxide (U3O8, also called “yellowcake”) which is sold to enrichment facilities that ultimately produce the fuel used in power plants.
To generate 1 gigawatt of electricity (GWh), 0.06 acres of land needs to be mined to create the enriched nuclear fuel consumed in nuclear power plants.
Download the full spreadsheet here: (coming later – for now download from embedded spreadsheet)
The following is a list of some of the sources we found while researching this metric.
- Rössing Uranium Limited Report to stakeholders 2018 – The report used in calculating the tons of uranium mined over a given land area.
- THE FOOTPRINT OF ENERGY: LAND USE OF U.S. ELECTRICITY PRODUCTION – a great report analyzing land use across all electricity generation types
- Uranium mining – Wikipedia’s entry on the various ways to mine uranium
- Potential Environmental Effects of Uranium Mining, Processing, and Reclamation – an in depth report from the National Academies of Sciences
- Uranium Mining Overview from the World Nuclear Association
- Nuclear Fuel’s Dirty Beginnings: Environmental Damage and Public Health Risks From Uranium Mining in the American West – from the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Code: m128 NucLand math xbMath math