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Uranium: Cradle to Grave

Uranium: Cradle to Grave book

Topics in Mineral Sciences Volume 43

Editors: P.C.Burns and G.E. Sigmon


This short course volume presents the many aspects of uranium, an element that changed the course of the world like no other. The content spans the mineralogy, geochemistry, and ore deposits of uranium, and includes nuclear waste challenges and solutions, weapons proliferation, and nuclear forensics for attribution and nuclear security.

The volume brought together a panel of international experts focused on educating graduate students, early career scientists, and researchers seeking deeper involvement in the field.


Softcover. 449 pages. 2013. 

MAC Member Price: $48 CAD/USD

Publication Price $60.00 CAD/USD
ID: SC-43
ISBN: 978-0-921294-53-5


Arguably, nothing is more essential for continued development of modern society than affordable energy. Quality of life in the developed and developing worlds is tied inextricably to the availability of energy. Only clean water might be deemed more important for human well-being, but energy is increasingly needed to ensure clear water supplies, and purification or desalinization facilities can render contaminated water clean, with energy being the expended commodity.

Nuclear energy has played a major role in the energy supplies of 30 counties in the past, and likely will be even more important in the future with continued expansion in China, India, and Russia. The arrival of the atomic age, and with it nuclear energy, provided both opportunities and great challenges. This volume focuses on many aspects of uranium, which is the central element of the atomic age. We have chosen to focus on issues related to the nuclear fuel cycle, primarily from the perspective of geologic and environmental aspects, as well as nuclear forensics analysis for the attribution of nuclear materials. The proliferation of nuclear weapons, either as an intended or unintended outcome of a fuel cycle, remains of great societal concern.

Chapters in this volume examine the origin and distribution of uranium ore deposits worldwide, as well as the quantity of fissile uranium and thorium available for exploitation. The family of uranium minerals is examined, from the perspectives of their occurrences and crystal structures. Multiple chapters are devoted to exploring the myriad of geochemical and biological factors that define the transport of uranium in the subsurface. Nuclear waste disposal is examined from the perspective of different types of waste forms, spanning from glass to crystalline ceramics. Coverage of post- and pre-detonation nuclear forensics includes several case studies, such as the Trinity explosion that started the atomic age. We do not consider reactor physics or engineering, industrial-scale chemical processes of the fuel cycle, or much of the large field of synthetic actinide chemistry.


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