The United States is the world’s largest consumer of uranium used in nuclear power plants, which provide approximately 19 percent of the Nation’s electricity. More than 90 percent of the uranium used domestically to generate nuclear power is imported (U.S. Department of Energy, 2015). Assessment of undiscovered domestic uranium resources is a critical component of a sustainable nuclear industry in the United States.
In 2015, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) completed an assessment of undiscovered uranium resources hosted by Tertiary sedimentary sequences of the Texas Coastal Plain. These deposits are found in sandstones, which are the most prolific uranium deposits in the United States. Deposits in the Texas Coastal Plain region are estimated to contain the third largest domestic sandstone-hosted uranium resource after the Colorado Plateau and Wyoming Basin regions, hosting 8% of the U.S. uranium reserves. The Economic Minerals Program interfaces with CEE’s nuclear energy research for nuclear energy trends and overall electric power market dynamics (see http://www.beg.utexas.edu/energyecon/epr/ for CEE’s emerging nuclear power research).
Research related to uranium mineral resources include:
- Exploration and interpretation with geospatial datasets
- Estimation and reserve calculations of known and unknown resource potential
- Economic potential and supply chain mapping
- Supply and demand balances
- Application and integration with energy outlooks
- Country risk assessments and extractive issues
- Environmental risk and regulatory compliance issues (chemical mitigation, water issues, subsurface monitoring, etc.)
U.S. Department of Energy, 2015, 2014 Uranium Marketing Annual Report: U.S. Energy Information Administration, 70 p., accessed July 2015, at http://www.eia.gov/uranium/marketing/.
Mihalasky, M. J., Hall, S. M., Hammarstrom, J. M., Tureck, K. R., Hannon, M. T., Breit, G. N., Zielinski, R. A., and Elliott, B. A., 2015, Assessment of undiscovered sandstone-hosted uranium resources in the Texas Coastal Plain, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015-3069 , 4 p., doi:10.3133/fs20153069.
U.S. Geological Survey Assessment Team, 2015, Assessment of undiscovered sandstone-hosted uranium resources in the Texas Coastal Plain, 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015–3069, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153069.