Nuclear Energy pp 165-185 | Cite as

Uranium and Thorium Resources

  • J. Stephen Herring
Reference work entry
Part of the Encyclopedia of Sustainability Science and Technology Series book series (ESSTS)


Cross section

Probability of neutron interaction with a nucleus, expressed in terms of area, in units of barns (b). One barn equals 1.0 × 10−24 cm2.


The fraction of an isotope, usually fissile 235U, in a mass of uranium. Enrichment is commonly quoted as the weight percent of the particular isotope. Natural uranium has an enrichment of 0.711 wt%, commercial reactor fuel is 3–5% enriched, and depleted uranium is 0.2–0.3% 235U.

Enrichment tails (also depleted uranium)

The uranium remaining after the enrichment of natural uranium into fuel, today about 0.3% 235U and earlier 0.2–0.25% 235U.


Crystallization from a magma in which the initial crystals are prevented from equilibrating from the parent liquid, resulting in a series of residual liquids of more extreme composition than would have resulted from continuous reaction [1].


An electron antineutrino emitted within the Earth in the β-decay of 232Th, 238U, or 40K and their decay product nuclei.



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Idaho National LaboratoryIdaho FallsUSA

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