Uranium mining, excavation machine

Uranium mining, excavation machine

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Credit: PATRICK LANDMANN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Uranium mining. Miner operating an excavation machine in a uranium mine. The uranium ore is excavated from underground deposits and crushed and processed to extract the uranium. The uranium is then enriched to increase the concentration of the radioactive isotope (U-235). It is this isotope that is used in nuclear power stations to create a controlled nuclear fission reaction, where large amounts of energy are obtained from relatively small amounts of uranium. This is the Jouac mine in France, which closed in June 2001. Photographed in 2001.

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