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Application of UNFC to Nuclear Fuel Resources

UNFC enables a comparison of uranium and thorium reported globally by providing a bridging system and guidelines for its universal application.In addition, countries are increasingly becoming aware that future uranium demand is likely to be met from co- or by-product uranium, e.g. phosphates, copper or coal deposits.

Countries need to have a clear understanding of what UNFC is and how it can benefit users of different types of resources. Being able to meaningfully compare resources across the different reporting standards around the world offers a great advantage.

UNECE has been working closely with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on development of UNFC for many years in view of the value of using the Framework to enhance the accuracy, usefulness and quality of classifying uranium and thorium resources worldwide.

The Nuclear Fuel Resources Working Group, has developed the Bridging Document, Guidelines and Case Studies to provide a set of documents that address the growing demand from IAEA Member States, who are either considering or have started uranium and thorium exploration, to develop the capacity to explore and classify available resources.

Nuclear Fuel Resources Working Group

The Working Group was established in May 2013. The Working Group is Chaired by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The Chair of the Working Group reports on the work and progress annually to the Expert Group. 

Membership of Nuclear Fuel Resources Working Group

Bridging Document 

In 2014, a Bridging Document between the classifications in the OECD-NEA/IAEA publication Uranium: Resources, Production and Demand (known as the “Red Book”) and UNFC was prepared, which enables a straightforward comparison of most of the uranium and thorium resources reported globally.

The purpose of this Bridging Document is to facilitate the mapping of results between UNFC and the NEA/IAEA “Red Book” resources reporting scheme. This Bridging Document was approved by the Expert Group on Resource Classification at its fifth session, 29 April–2 May 2014, subject to minor modifications and review by the Technical Advisory Group of the Expert Group. The final text of the Bridging Document was then endorsed by the Committee on Sustainable Energy at its twenty-third session in 2014.

Bridging documents explain the relationship between the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) and another classification system that has been endorsed by the Expert Group on Resource Classification as an Aligned System. They incorporate instructions and guidelines on how to classify estimates generated by application of that Aligned System using the UNFC Numerical Codes. 

Bridging Document between the Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)/International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Uranium Classification (Red Book) and UNFC-2009 (English   French  Russian)


UNFC enables a comparison of uranium and thorium reported globally by providing a bridging system and guidelines for its universal application. The purpose of the document is to provide non-mandatory guidance for the application of UNFC to uranium and thorium resources. The Guidelines were prepared in 2014 and 2015 and have been reviewed by experts from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Nigeria, United Kingdom and United States. The Guidelines were issued for public comment from 25 June to 20 August 2015. The final version of the is available here.

Case studies

The series of case studies has been published demonstrate that UNFC can be applied to nuclear fuel resources and that the Bridging Document and Guidelines are both workable documents, providing a practical basis for application. The publication can be downloaded here.

Additional case studies can been seen here