ISR uranium production is an environmentally friendly method of recovering uranium for use in generating electric power. Approximately 20% of America’s electric power is supplied by nuclear plants. More than 90% of the uranium used to fuel nuclear power plants is imported. The Reno Creek Project will help support both the diversity and security of America’s energy industry.
The ISR method employs common household chemicals (mainly baking soda and oxygen), which are mixed with ground water from the mining zone and pumped into wells, dissolving the naturally occurring uranium. The uranium-rich water is then pumped to the Central Processing Plant for recovery. More than 98% of the water processed is then returned into the aquifer from which it was obtained. The recovered uranium is packed into steel drums and shipped by truck to be further refined and manufactured into fuel pellets for nuclear power plants.
How Uranium Roll Fronts Are Formed:
- Uranium enters a sandstone aquifer when it is dissolved out of the earth's crust by oxygenated waters, such as rainwater
- The groundwater containing the uranium moves through the sandstone until it meets a condition in the sandstone that causes the uranium to drop out of solution
- This occurs over millions of years until a commercially minable uranium roll front is formed
The ISR Mining Process:
- By mixing commonly used products such as baking soda and oxygen with native groundwater ISR mining temporarily reverses the this natural process
- The uranium is dissolved in the groundwater and recovered at the Central Processing Plant
- ISR mining is a water user but not a water consumer; returning greater than 98% of the water for reuse after the uranium is recovered at the CPP