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UNFC and Nuclear Energy

UNFC enables a comparison of uranium and thorium reported globally by providing a bridging system and guidelines for its universal application.In addition, countries are increasingly becoming aware that future uranium demand is likely to be met from co- or by-product uranium, e.g. phosphates, copper or coal deposits.
Countries need to have a clear understanding of what UNFC is and how it can benefit users of different types of resources. Being able to meaningfully compare resources across the different reporting standards around the world offers a great advantage.
UNECE has been working closely with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), World Nuclear Association (WNA) and OECD-Nuclear Energy Agency (OECD-NEA)on development of UNFC for many years in view of the value of using the Framework to enhance the accuracy, usefulness and quality of classifying uranium and thorium resources worldwide.

Nuclear Working Group

The Nuclear Working Group develops specifications, guidelines, best practices and case studies.

Bridging Document 

In 2014, a Bridging Document between the classifications in the OECD-NEA/IAEA publication Uranium: Resources, Production and Demand (known as the “Red Book”) and UNFC was prepared, which enables a straightforward comparison of most of the uranium and thorium resources reported globally. The purpose of this Bridging Document is to facilitate the mapping of results between UNFC and the NEA/IAEA “Red Book” resources reporting scheme.  (English   French  Russian)

Guidelines and best practices

Application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources and the United Nations Resource Management System: Use of Nuclear Fuel Resources for Sustainable Development - Entry Pathways. The world’s energy sector is undergoing a profound transition. This transition is driven by the need to expand access to clean energy in support of socio-economic development, especially in emerging economies, while at the same time limiting the impacts of climate change, pollution and other unfolding global environmental crises. Fundamentally this transition requires a shift from the use of polluting energy sources towards the use of sustainable alternatives. The UN’s 2030 agenda, distilled in the sustainable development goals, has become an indispensable tool for decision-makers concerned with navigating these difficult decisions. This report explores the potential for nuclear energy as part of the energy portfolio and shows how the utilisation of local or regional uranium resources can provide a platform for sustainable development. 

Redesigning the Uranium Resource Pathway (ECE ENERGY SERIES No. 57) The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has made it essential to have a ground-up review of all resources indispensable for the successful delivery of all goals, notably for SDG 7 on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and SDG 13 on climate action. The energy and climate-related goals have a bearing on uranium resources, one of the clean, low-carbon energy sources. This report shows how uranium resources could create a platform for innovative engagement with the integrated challenge of natural resource management and climate action. The United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC), the comprehensive resource management scheme, provides the necessary tools and conditions for the redesign of the uranium resource pathway.  

Guidelines for Application of UNFC to Uranium and Thorium Resources (ECE ENERGY SERIES No. 55) This publication provides non-mandatory guidance for the application of the United Nations Framework Classification for Resources (UNFC) to uranium and thorium resources. These Guidelines are intended to assist all those responsible for finding, classifying, quantifying, financing, permitting, mining, and processing these minerals such that they are fit to enter the nuclear fuel cycle. With the rapidly changing uranium industry landscape and the changing UNFC framework, the guidelines are a work in progress. Updated reports and analyses will be issued in future to keep the application of UNFC to uranium resources more useful and relevant to the current realities.

Case studies

Application of UNFC 2009 to Nuclear Fuel Resources - Case Studies (ECE ENERGY SERIES No. 46) (2015) (Set of 8 case studies (China, Niger, Argentina, Brazil, India, Malawi, USA)
ECE Energy Series 58: Application of UNFC Case Studies 2019 A series of case studies on various resource projects, including thorium and uranium, from Argentina, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Paraguay, Indonesia and  Venezuela.
Additional case studies are available here. 


The Nuclear Working Group holds holds workshops frequently in many countries