Progress on Uranium from coal flyash waste

Atomic Insights reports on progress towards extracting Uranium from coal flyash waste.

Spartan Resources of Canada, has press releases discussing a project in Hungary and another announced a successful test of samples from an ash pile located in the central Yunnan Province of China.

The Yunnan province ash pile being evaluated contains about 5.3 million tons of ash with a uranium concentration of 160-180 parts per million. The total quantity of uranium in the pile is thus about 2085 tons. According to the UIC ISL article the normal recovery percent from an ISL deposit ranges between 60-80% so the amount of uranium that might be recovered is about 1250-1700 tons.

It takes about 200 tons of natural uranium to power a 1000 MWe reactor for a year, so the ash pile mine could supply between 6-8 reactor years of fuel. The current price listed at UXC is about $78 per pound. Even at that price, the uranium from a single ash pile might be worth as much as $250 million. Not bad for something considered to be at best a nuisance and at worst an environmental contaminant.