What is it
and where is it formed? Uraninite
is the ore that uranium comes from. Uranium
can be found in most rocks but uraninite has the
most. It forms in
sedimentary rocks. It is radioactive.
Uraninite is weathered and
eroded over time. Wind and rain move it
from place to place. It usually ends up in
bodies of water like lakes and streams where it
settles on the bottom and forms into
rock. Uranium is not found by itself in nature.
Most uranium ore is mined by using a hot
liquid or a chemical to take it out of its ore.
After that, it goes through more chemical steps
until it is in the form that the buyer needs it to
be. For example, when they take it out of its
ore, uranium is treated with chemicals and gases
until itís ready to use as nuclear fuel. Then
itís sold as that. It is usually made into
uranium dioxide or any chemical form that can be
used in industry. Uraninite is mined in
France, England, the Belgian Congo, Germany, Zaire,
Canada, and the United States [North Carolina,
What is it used for? It has a small amount
of radioactivity which is why it is used in: nuclear Navy ships
and submarines, weapons, nuclear reactors in power plants,
atomic bombs. It is also used on the outsides of army tanks,
bullets, and missiles. Uranium is used in ceramic glazes,
fertilizers, or chemicals used in photography.
Sometimes uranium is found in a
vanadium-uranium ore mixture. During World War II, the United
States was making the first atomic bomb. They wanted to keep
the uranium a secret so they bought vanadium for the project.
They were really buying the vanadium for the uranium it had in
it. The miners werenít paid very much for vanadium and after
the war, the miners sued the government for the cost of the
uranium that they mined. Many won the money.
We eat food every day that has uranium in
it and we breathe it in. Most of the time it wonít hurt you
because the body gets rid of most of it. People that live near
places where the federal government tested nuclear weapons get
more uranium than normal.
There was a nuclear accident
in Pennsylvania at
Island in 1979. This stopped people from building so many
Nuclear reactors use uranium. This is why we don't use uranium so much anymore.
Uranium Ore H169
July 2002, Plano Tx
Web Edition, Ronald Hampton Collection [Collin County Community
College--Paul E. Bellah