OP#34: Open-Source Monitoring of Uranium Mining and Milling for Nuclear Nonproliferation Applications

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December 6, 2017
Jeffrey Lewis, Melissa Hanham, Joshua Pollack, Catherine Dill, Raymond Wang

Occasional Paper #34

Read the full Occasional Paper #34:
Open-Source Monitoring of Uranium Mining and Milling for Nuclear Nonproliferation Applications

Occasional Paper #34

Uranium mines and mills offer an important focus for the analysis of fissile-material production. It is possible to combine traditional research techniques with new tools and technologies to estimate the production of yellowcake uranium. Such estimates can, in turn, be used to roughly estimate the throughput of a country’s nuclear fuel cycle. In some cases, this may help researchers to determine whether undeclared fuel cycle facilities exist and to estimate their capacity.

This CNS Occasional Paper is the first in a series of papers funded by the MacArthur Foundation. It deals primarily with how researchers can use open-source information to monitor uranium mining and milling in the service of arms control, disarmament, and nonproliferation goals. Additional monographs will provide regional cases studies in North Korea, China, India, and Pakistan to demonstrate what these methods can reveal—and what they cannot. The final monographs look at the emerging, and potentially revolutionary, role of remote sensing for this application and gives policy recommendations.

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