Comparative life-cycle assessment of uranium extraction processes

Shahjadi Hisan Farjana, Nazmul Huda, M. A. Parvez Mahmud, Candace Lang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study assessed the environmental impacts of uranium extraction through three different mining process namely open-pit, underground, and in-situ leaching. The study is carried out through life-cycle impact assessment by using the International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD) method, for 14 significant impact categories; the major categories with significant results are ionizing radiation, climate change, human toxicity, ecotoxicity, and eutrophication. Impact assessment through the Cumulative Energy Demand (CED) method is also carried out to assess the usage of renewable and non-renewable sources of energy in uranium extraction processes. All analysis is carried out for 1 kg uranium production through three different processes by using heavy fuel and diesel as the energy source. The comparative impact-assessment results for the open-pit mining method, underground mining, and in-situ leaching mining methods are presented and discussed in detail. Furthermore, a sensitivity analysis has been carried out to rationalize the linear relationship between the materials or fuels responsible for environmental impacts and sustainability. Three different scenarios are assessed including the base case scenario of the uranium extraction process. Sensitivity analysis results reveal the effect of fossil fuel based energy generation sources is the primary factor for causing environmental impacts during the uranium extraction routes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)666-683
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume202
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

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