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Guidelines for application of UNFC to uranium and thorium resources released for public comment

Published: 25 June 2015

Guidelines for the application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Fossil Energy and Mineral Reserves and Resources 2009 (UNFC) to uranium and thorium resources were released today for public comment until 20 August 2015.

The views of all stakeholders are critical to ensure development of a robust set of guidelines. All comments received will be made publicly available on the UNECE website. Eight case studies, including in Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Malawi, Niger and United States, are provided to illustrate application of the guidelines.

The guidelines were prepared by a task force of the UNECE Expert Group on Resource Classification, led by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). They have been written to facilitate the application of UNFC to uranium and thorium resources. UNFC has been fully applicable to all extractive activities, including oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear fuel resources since the end of 2013. Countries around the world, from Africa, Asia, Central Asia, Europe and Latin America, are working to apply the system nationally and/or map their national systems to it. The development of the guidelines follows the finalization of a Bridging Document between UNFC and the “Red Book” – the Uranium Classification of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and IAEA in November 2014. The Bridging Document ensures that IAEA member States have easy access to UNFC as an international standard that encompasses the total resource base and all extractive activities.

Harikrishnan Tulsidas, IAEA and Chair of the Task Force, noted “As energy resources, uranium and thorium have an important place in the current and future energy supply base, which is the focus of UNFC. For the foreseeable future, both uranium and thorium will make a critical contribution to energy security and the transition to low carbon energy production. The guidelines will assist all those responsible for finding, classifying, quantifying, financing, permitting, mining, and processing these minerals.”

Importantly, the guidelines will also assist in the wider objective of meeting the policy, regulatory and governance objectives, including stakeholder engagement, for the peaceful uses of uranium and thorium resources as set out by IAEA.

UNFC, which has been developed by the Expert Group on Resource Classification under the auspices of UNECE, is applicable to all extractive activities worldwide with work underway to broaden application to encompass renewables.  Scott Foster, Director of UNECE’s Sustainable Energy Division, stated “Sustainable energy development depends on careful management of the world’s energy resources and UNFC has an important role to play in this process. Our cooperation with IAEA is invaluable in furthering our objectives to ensure sustainable energy for all.”

The draft Guidelines are available for public comment on the UNECE website at: http://www.unece.org/energy/se/reserves.html.

For further information please contact: Charlotte Griffiths, UNECE Sustainable Energy Division, at: reserves.energy@unece.org.


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