As you already know that major countries in the world including our country India, possess the Nuclear weapons to strengthen their security and for other various purposes as well. But a major concern also arises of nuclear war or you can also say that world war 3 among the superpower countries of the world. But if this happened then the human race on the earth will be extinct soon after. Uranium is the core element for making atomic bombs or you can also say that it could be the main culprit for nuclear war too. In this article, you will know all about the Uranium reserves in the world as well as in India. So without any further ado, let’s get started.
What is Uranium?
Uranium is a chemical element with an atomic number 92 and the atomic mass of 235. It is a silvery-grey metal. A Uranium atom has 92 protons and 92 electrons. It is weakly radioactive because all isotopes of Uranium are unstable, with half-lives varying between 159,200 years and 4.5 billion years.
The most common isotopes in natural Uranium are Uranium-238 (which has 146 neutrons and accounts for over 99%) and Uranium-235 (which has 143 neutrons).
In nature, Uranium is found as Uranium-238 (99.2739–99.2752%), Uranium-235 (0.7198–0.7202%), and a very small amount of Uranium-234 (0.0050–0.0059%). Uranium decays slowly by emitting an alpha particle. The half-life of Uranium-238 is about 4.47 billion years and that of Uranium-235 is 704 million years, making them useful in dating the age of the Earth.
Uranium-235 is the only naturally occurring fissile isotope, which makes it widely used in nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. However, because of the tiny amounts found in nature, Uranium needs to undergo enrichment so that enough Uranium-235 is present.
Uranium-238 is fissionable by fast neutrons, and is fertile, meaning it can be transmuted to fissile Plutonium-239 in a nuclear reactor. U-238 is used in kinetic energy penetrators and armor plating. Uranium is used as a colorant in Uranium glass, producing lemon yellow to green colors. Uranium glass fluoresces green in ultraviolet light. It was also used for tinting and shading in early photography.
Note: In 1934 J. Robert Oppenheimer start using it as a fuel in the nuclear power industry and in Little Boy, the first nuclear weapon used in World War 2.
Uranium reserves across the world
The largest amount of deposits are found in Australia, Kazakhstan, and Canada. In Southern Australia, Olympic Dam and the Ranger mine are primary mines. High-grade of Uranium is only found in the Athabasca Basin region of Canada.
In Canada, Cigar Lake, McArthur River basin are some primary mining sites. The Chu-Sarysu basin in central Kazakhstan alone accounts for over half of the country’s known Uranium resources.
Uranium reserves in India
India has no significant reserves of Uranium. All the needs are fulfilled through imports. India imports thousands of tonnes of Uranium from Russia, Kazakhstan, France. India is trying hard to import Uranium from Australia and Canada but there are some concerns and issues which India is trying to sort out.
Recently, India discovered some Uranium reserves in some parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. It’s a great news for India.
Note: India reserves the largest amount of Thorium which is an isotope of Uranium.
Thorium-232 is the rarest available isotope of Uranium-235 in the earth’s crust. India, the United States of America, and Australia possess large reserves of Thorium. India and Australia are believed to possess more than half of the world’s Thorium reserves.
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