Uranium is one of the most dangerous elements in the world, but that has not stopped the 8 countries that produce the most uranium in the world. Uranium is radioactive, mainly due to its isotopes being unstable. The element is denser than even lead, 70% more so to be accurate. It occurs naturally in few parts per million in rock, water, and soil, while it is also often extracted from minerals which contain uranium such as uraninite.
Uranium has always been a popular element, mainly for its nuclear properties. In fact, Uranium-235 is is the only naturally occurring isotope which is fissile in nature, which means that it can sustain a nuclear reaction. Various isotopes of uranium have various uses, almost all of which are nuclear in nature. If there is sufficient concentration of uranium isotopes, a sustained nuclear reaction can be carried out. This reaction creates a lot of heat, which in turn supplies the power for nuclear reactors while also providing material which is fissile in nature and hence, is used in the creation of nuclear weapons.
Furthermore, another isotope of uranium, Uranium 238 is used in armor plating and kinetic energy penetrators. However, the uses of uranium do not just end here. The element is also used in uranium glass as a colorant, which can result in different shades of colors, such as green and yellow lime.
Uranium was also used for both shading and tinting in early photography. However, due to the element being radioactive, this practice was later discontinued for obvious health reasons.
The element of uranium was discovered centuries ago in 1789 by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, who named the element after the planet Uranus. Further research conducted by other scientists led to the use of uranium as a source of fuel, which began in 1934. This also led to uranium being used in the creation of the first ever atomic bomb, Little Boy, which was dropped on the city of Hiroshima in Japan during World War II. Thousands were killed while an entire city was completely annihilated, showing the devastating power of uranium and plutonium.
Later on, during the late 1900s, the Cold War was taking place between the Soviet Union and the United States. In order to be able to compete with each other in case of all out war, both stockpiled thousands of nuclear weapons which used uranium for its radioactive properties. After the Soviet Union broke down, these weapons needed to be decommissioned safely, and this is still an ongoing process, which has raised a lot of concern,
You might be surprised to know there is a significant amount of uranium present in the air around us. Some of this is naturally occurring but most of the uranium is present due to experiments carried out by various countries such as France and America. Further uranium has been leaked due to various accidents at nuclear reactors such as the infamous Chernobyl reactor and Fukushima disaster. Even though countries like Japan and Germany are trying to minimize their reliance on nuclear-powered energy, precisely because of the unfortunate events that leaked uranium can cause, there are still countries that invest in this type of energy, such as India and China. If you interested about the uranium stocks, don’t miss our article on five uranium stocks to buy according to hedge funds.
We sought to determine the 8 countries that produce the most uranium in the world. In order to do this, we consulted World nuclear to determine which countries lay great emphasis on the production of uranium. It is important to remember that production of uranium has been toned down in recent years in an effort to decrease nuclear weapons in the world. We used the number of tonnes of uranium extracted via mining in 2014 as the basis for our ranking. Without further ado, here are our rankings, starting with number 8:
8. The United States of America
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 1,919 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 2,400 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 2,990 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 3,255 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 4,057 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 5,001 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 9,134 tonnes
Production of uranium in mines in 2014: 23,127 tonnes
Kazakhstan boasts around 12% of the total uranium reserves in the world. It became the leading uranium producer in 2009, a position it has maintained since, allowing it to top the list of 8 countries that produce the most uranium in the world. The country has a huge plant which makes nuclear fuel pellets, and it is aiming to expand its export of the product, while also increasing production as well, which it aims to do by the establishment of a new nuclear power reactor by the year 2025.