Uranium Production and Use in New Mexico

  • New Mexico has large Uranium reserves and a history and legacy of Uranium mining and research, yet very little of the states total energy comes from nuclear plants (estimates range from 10%--20%.)
  • Although there are many uranium mining claims in New Mexico there is only one Uranium Energy Corp, Cebolleta.
  • In the United States there are 104 nuclear operating reactors in 31 states operated by 30 different companies
  • The U.S is the largest nuclear energy producer in the world, producing more than 30% of the world's nuclear electricity generation

    Uranium mining in New Mexico

Map of nuclear power plants in United States

Energy Resource
Natural Gas

Uranium Information

  • Uranium was discovered in by Martin Heinrich Klaproth, a German chemist, in 1789.
  • Uranium's melting point is 2,070°F (1,132°C) and the boiling point is 7,468°F (4,131°C)
  • 92235U --> 90231Th + 24He
  • 92238U --> 90234Th + 24He
  • Uranium is a heavy metal which can be used as an abundant source of concentrated energy.

    source energy equivalents
    source energy equivalents

    Uranium ore

Benefits of Uranium

  • Uranium is a concentrated low volume fuel source that requires few incursions into the land for transport and extraction.
  • Uranium is an abundant fuel source with stable prices and isn't sensitive to fuel price increases.
  • "One uranium fuel pellet-the size of the tip of your little finger-is the equivalent of 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas, 1,780 pounds of coal, or 149 gallons of oil.
  • Creates little or no greenhouse gasses
  • More efficient energy source (volume of fuel relative to energy output)
  • Less pollution

uranium mine.jpg
Uranium mine

Disadvantages of Uranium

  • Nuclear energy is neither a green nor a sustainable alternative to other fuel sources.
  • According to estimates, Uranium supply would last 20--30 years depending on the demand for Uranium fuels.
  • Uranium is significantly rarer than fossil fuels (in terms of physical quantity)
  • Reactors have a very high price of construction
  • Getting from the planning stage to the electricity production stage of a nuclear plant is a time consuming process.
  • Disposal and storage of spent fuels
  • Another disadvantage is the risk of nuclear “accidents” which may result in a grievous loss of human life. Examples include the nuclear plant explosions in Fukushima, Japan (2011) and Chernobyl, Ukraine (1986)

For all of the advantages it may have, nuclear energy has just as many disadvantages which may prevent it from being a serious viability for sustained alternative energy. As a temporary resolution however, it may well be an excellent choice.

Works Cited