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Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith predict that the energy const of mining Uranium is given by the formula:

Energy Cost = (Constant * Mass of Uranium)/(percentage Uranium concentration in Ore * yield of mine)

From a selection of analyses of Uranium mines employed in the 1970's they choose data that give this Constant = 0.654 GigaJoules per Kilogram produced.

Olympic Dam produces 4600 tonnes of Uranium in a year = 4.6x106 Kilograms

Uranium Concentration in Olympic Dam Ore = 0.5 kilogram/tonne = 0.05%

The Olympic Dam mine has a yeild of 97% so we use Yield = 1

So they predict:

Energy Cost = (0.654 x 4.6x106)/0.05 = 6.0x107 GigaJoules per year to mine 4600 tonnes of uranium.

Now we compare this energy to that produced by a 1 GigaWatt electric power plant operated for one year.

Energy Produced by 1 GigaWatt Power plant for 1 year = 1 GigaWatt x (Number days in year) x (Number of hours in day) x (Number of minutes per hour) x (Number of Seconds per Minute)

Energy Produced by 1 GigaWatt Power plant for 1 year = 1 x 365 x 24 x 60 x 60 GigaJoules

Doing this calculation:

Energy Produced by 1 GigaWatt Power plant for 1 year = 3.1x107 GigaJoules

So Jan Willem Storm van Leeuwen and Philip Smith predict that Olympic Dam should require almost twice the output of a 1 GW power station operating for one year to mine the 4600 tonnes of Uranium also produced in one year.

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