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Digging deeper to get uranium requires a well-integrated and coordinated programme among all stakeholders.
“Member States need to be well informed about all aspects of uranium production involving exploration, mining and milling and to have a well-managed uranium extraction programme.” Through training and facilitating knowledge sharing among experts and practitioners from Member States, the IAEA supports the development of sustainable uranium production cycles.
Robust management procedures for uranium mining play a vital role.
Intensifying global cooperation The IAEA has been proactive in raising awareness about safe and secure procedures during uranium mining operations.
It holds regular meetings and workshops with Member State experts to share best practices in the complete uranium cycle and also to highlight operational challenges.
And only in the last ten years has the proliferation of solar and wind farms persuaded much of the public that such a transition is possible.
In December 2014, 78 percent of respondents to a large global survey by Ipsos agreed with the statement “In the future, renewable energy sources will be able to fully replace fossil fuels.” Toward the end of his sweeping new history, , Vaclav Smil appears to agree.
“As the use of nuclear energy increases, so too will the need for uranium production, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication.
Uranium production will start in several countries with limited nuclear experience and know-how,” said Harikrishnan Tulsidas, scientific officer with the IAEA Department of Nuclear Energy.
But Smil, one of the world’s foremost experts on energy, stresses that any transition to renewables would take far longer than its most ardent proponents acknowledge.
Humankind, Smil recounts, has experienced three major energy transitions: from wood and dung to coal, then to oil, and then to natural gas.