Uranium can be found in small traces in soil, water, and in food and in human tissue. It is one of the most abundant elements found in the Earth’s crust. Concentrated uranium ore are only found in abundance in a few places in the world. The largest concentrations of ore bodies are found in Australia (28%), Kazakhstan (16%), and Canada (12%). The highest grade deposits in the world are found only in the Athabasca region of Saskatchewan.
The most common commercial use for U308 is as a fuel for nuclear power plants. U308 is converted into U02 or into a higher enriched form UF6 and fabricated into fuel pellets. Through the process of nuclear fusion, the uranium isotope U235 can undergo a nuclear reaction whereby its nucleus is split into smaller particles producing significant amounts of energy. There are also other uses for uranium in medical diagnostics and a number of other industries.
Uranium is supplied from primary production (the mining of uranium ore), and secondary sources such as the drawdown of excess inventories, decommissioning of nuclear weapons, re-enrichment of depleted uranium tailings, and used reactor fuel that has been reprocessed.