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Author: waterfell Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 57545  
Subject: Re: Water demand for energy Date: 2/4/2013 10:01 PM
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jaagu asks:
I would like to see the numbers for all the energy required for mining uranium, processing uranium and enriching uranium.
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Here is some detailed information from the World Nuclear Association.

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf11.html

In terms of energy, much depends on the type of equipment used to enrich the uranium during fuel manufacture. The newer centrifuge enrichment plants use less than 5% of the energy to enrich uranium than the old diffusion plants used. The National Enrichment Facility in New Mexico is currently in operation using centrifuges of European design.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Enrichment_Facility

Areva is also planning a centrifuge-type enrichment plant in Idaho, and USEC is trying to get the American Centrifuge project started in Ohio. GE is working on a laser enrichment process which promises to be even more efficient.

From the first link above, given below are the energy requirements over 40 years for each step in the nuclear fuel fabrication and plant construction and operation processes.

Mining and milling: 2.0 PetaJoules (PJ)
Conversion: 9.24 PJ
Enrichment (diffusion process): 124.18 PJ
Enrichment (centrifuge process): 3.26 PJ
Fuel fabrication: 5.76 PJ
Power plant construction and operation: 24.69 PJ
Used fuel storage: 1.5 PJ
Decommissioning: 6.0 PJ

Overall, a power plant running on uranium enriched by centrifuges needs 52.45 PJ over 40 years in energy requirements. Over that time, the power plant will produce 3024 PJ of electrical energy. The ratio of the energy output over the energy input is about 57 for centrifuge technologies. This is better than just about every other energy source, including many studies of wind power. Energy needs to be expended to build and maintain the wind turbines.

Regarding the water requirements for mining uranium, the YouTube video link below shows how the water is recycled and fed back into the In Situ mining process through the use of ion exchange resin beds.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tnvg6wx6U8

- Pete
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