Module 102 The Nuclear Fuel Cycle
Uranium Mining and Milling
After removal from the mine, the uranium ore is
milled to extract the yellowcake. This involves the
a. The ore is crushed, ground, and mixed with
water to prepare for chemical processing.
b. The crushed ore and water mixture is mixed
with chemicals to separate the yellowcake from
the ore. This separation process is called
"leaching." The resultant products include a
slurry of yellowcake ready for additional
processing and a mixture of low-grade crushed
rock and sand called "mill tailings."
Only about 3 percent of the actual material
removed from the mine ends up a yellowcake,
which means that millions of tons of mill
tailings are leftover.