Russia puts nuclear energy in list of 27 technologies critical to Russia and Areva pushes ahead with Trekkopje uranium mine for 2013

1. Nuclear energy has been formally recognised as a critical technology in a decree that makes nuclear development a priority for Russia. President Dmitry Medvedev signed off a list of 27 technologies as critical to Russia, including nuclear energy, the nuclear fuel cycle, safety of radioactive waste and used nuclear fuel. Nuclear power, along with energy efficiency and energy conservation, appears in a list of eight priority areas for science, technology and engineering. Russia will allocate a budget of about 700 billion rubles (around $25 billion) for high-tech industries over the next three years.

2. French mining giant, Areva, developer of the Trekkopje uranium mine in Swakopmund, is adamant that full scale production, scheduled for the last quarter of 2013, will still be achieved despite prevailing low uranium prices on the world market.

The US$1 billion Trekkopje mine is expected to be one of the 10 largest uranium mines in the world. Its deposit is a very large, shallow, high tonnage, low-grade uranium deposit hosted by calcretised palaeochannels with a main mineralisation that covers an area of approximately 14km x 3km.

The Trekkopje deposit is considered a technical challenge because of the very low grade uranium ore and a world first in the use of alkaline heap leaching to extract the uranium. To produce 3200 tons of uranium a year means processing 100,000 tons of ore per day.

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