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New publication demonstrates UNFC can be applied to nuclear fuel resources

Eight case studies undertaken in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Malawi, Niger and the United States demonstrate that the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) can be applied to nuclear fuel resources. The case studies present classification of uranium or thorium resources at different scales in a demonstration of the application of UNFC. The Application of UNFC-2009 to Nuclear Fuel Resources – Selected Case Studies (ECE Energy Series No. 46) was issued on 30 December 2015.

UNFC has been developed by the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Classification. The system is applicable to all extractive activities worldwide, and work is underway to broaden its application to encompass both renewable energy and injection projects for the geological storage of carbon dioxide.

As demonstrated in the new publication, UNFC can be applied fully to uranium and thorium resources. A Bridging Document exists between UNFC and the ‘Red Book’ – the uranium classification system of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Bridging Document facilitates the mapping of results between UNFC and the NEA/IAEA resources reporting scheme. Application involves the use of UNFC-2009 incorporating Specifications for its Application (ECE Energy Series No. 42).

Guidelines for the Application of UNFC to Uranium and Thorium Resources, which provide non-mandatory advice, have also been developed and these are described in the new publication. The Guidelines are intended to assist all those responsible for finding, classifying, quantifying, financing, permitting, mining, and processing these minerals such that they are fit to enter the nuclear fuel cycle. The Guidelines must be used in conjunction with the most recent release of UNFC.

David MacDonald, Chairman of the Expert Group on Resource Classification and Vice President Segment Reserves for BP, noted “the eight case studies demonstrate that UNFC can be applied to nuclear fuel resources and that the Bridging Document and the Guidelines are both workable documents, providing a practical basis for application”.

The case studies were developed by the Task Force on Application of UNFC to Nuclear Fuel Resources which is led by Harikrishnan Tulsidas, Nuclear Technology Specialist and Scientific Secretary for the International Atomic Energy Agency’s Integrated Nuclear Fuel Cycle Information System.

For further information, please contact: reserves.energy@unece.org