Uranium on the Cranium: The Uranium Mining Quiz

By: Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Uranium -- the stuff of futuristic energy and atomic weapons. Mining for this valuable element is anything but dull. Think you know how uranium mining works? Take this quiz to find out.

Say you want to launch an exploration for uranium. The tools you'll use will likely rely on this characteristic of uranium.

Uranium can be measured based on the amount of radiation it gives off. Get out your Geiger counter!


The booms and busts of uranium mining fluctuated based on economic and political factors. Which of the following events left the deepest impression on the field?

If you remember correctly, enriched uranium plays a key role in the production of nuclear weapons. The rise of uranium mining in the '50s left a spate of abandoned sites afterward.


What are the two most popular ways to mine for uranium?

Nowadays, in-situ recovery and open-pit mining represent the most common ways to mine for uranium. In-situ methods call for using chemistry to separate the uranium from the ore in the ground, while open-pit requires miners to physically remove the ore from the ground and bring it to the surface.


What's the name of towns that popped up because of uranium mining?

Several uranium mining hot spots in the western United States took on the moniker "yellowcake towns," named after the final product of mining -- yellowcake.


You can find uranium everywhere -- even in seawater. But why isn't uranium mined from the ocean?

Who knows? Perhaps uranium can be extracted from the ocean someday. For now, it doesn't make sense economically.


Why was uranium first coveted?

Uranium never gained fame for curing cancer or tasting good (neither are true), but rather, it was first prized as an aesthetic yellowish glaze to apply to glass and certain ceramics.


True or false: Uranium miners are not paid well.

Uranium miners today are highly skilled workers who make a decent living for their work. Still, these workers perform physically demanding jobs that carry certain health risks.


Which of the following countries is NOT among the world's top uranium producers?

Although the demand for uranium for nuclear energy is on the rise in China, the country imports the majority of the stuff from other places such as Canada and Australia.


Besides mining, what's another realistic way to obtain uranium for nuclear fuel?

The Megatons to Megawatts program converts enriched uranium in Soviet nuclear warheads to use to fuel nuclear plants. As of Sept. 30, 2011, more than the equivalent of 17,000 warheads' worth of uranium has been used for energy. A peaceful way to disarm, indeed.


Which time period saw the largest spike in uranium mining?

The uranium boom of the 1950s gave rise to several uranium mining towns. At this time, uranium was put toward the creation of nuclear weapons during the Cold War.


As of 2009, global uranium demand was:

Despite the booms and busts, uranium still has its place in the 21st century. Demand for the element has spiked to accommodate new energy needs, according to the Nuclear Energy Agency.


Uranium miners still come into contact with radioactive material while on the job. What can they do to prevent bringing radioactive material into their homes and neighborhoods?

Radioactive particles from rock and dust can travel on workers' clothes and objects at the mine. It's better to leave these things at the mine before heading home, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.


In order to use uranium as nuclear fuel (or even in a weapon), what process does the element need to undergo?

Yellowcake uranium isn't suitable for use as fuel without being enriched first.


What treaty do countries have to be a part of to purchase uranium?

Though such an agreement could carry creative names, the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty is the best name policy makers came up with.


How does uranium mining lead to food preservation?

Believe it or not, uranium helps create radioisotopes that help keep foods fresh longer by killing pests and preventing root plants from sprouting, according to the World Nuclear Association.


What's the most common health hazard associated with uranium mining?

The most deadly aspect of uranium mining has little to do with uranium itself. Rather, it's a combination of uranium with other elements including radium, which give off deadly radon gas.


What color is the element uranium?

Uranium looks different after processing, but the element is naturally silvery-white in appearance.


What's the difference between remediating and reclaiming a mining site?

After a mine closes, remediation efforts help clean up toxic and radioactive waste. Reclamation, on the other hand, tries to restore an area back to its natural state.


Which of these elements is commonly found with uranium?

Gold and nickel rarely occur alongside uranium. Radium usually goes hand in hand with uranium.


Which of the following communities has historically been affected by uranium mining?

A diversity of people have been affected by living nearby or working in uranium mines. Native American groups have received a lot of press, but Mormon and Hispanic groups have been influenced by the industry as well.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!