EIA | The United States produced 174,000 pounds of uranium concentrate (U3O8) in 2019, 89% less than in 2018 and the lowest amount produced since the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) data series began in 1949. Domestic U3O8 production has declined since its peak of 43.7 million pounds in 1980.
Producing uranium concentrate, U3O8, is the first step in nuclear fuel production. After the uranium ore is mined, it goes through a milling process that extracts uranium from the ore, producing uranium concentrate (U3O8). Although the original ore contains as little as 0.1% uranium, U3O8 is usually more than 80% uranium. U3O8 is then processed at conversion and enrichment facilities, where it’s made into reactor fuel pellets. Fuel fabrication plants assemble the fuel pellets into fuel rods for use in commercial nuclear reactors.
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