Australia's uranium supply

Australia s uranium industry powers a significant amount of the world s nuclear 16000646 800508969 0 0 7041485 300

Many countries struggling with electricity prices and supply turn to nuclear solutions to generate the power they need. Nations such as France, Belgium, the US, Japan, China, Russia, the UK and plenty of others use nuclear as a way of power generation.

Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan, Germany and Switzerland have decided to phase out their nuclear power and general attitudes towards nuclear have appeared more cautious.

Although Australia has no nuclear power plants of its own producing electricity, it has vast stores of uranium deposits - with uranium being a key ingredient for nuclear power.

Making the most of this economic opportunity, minister for energy and resources Gary Gray has made mention of Australia's uranium supply and industry often in recent months.

Mr Gray's most recent statement was on July 17, when he said that the future of the nation's uranium industry looks strong.

"Australia is one of the world's largest producers and exporters of uranium with 33 per cent of the world's uranium resources," he said at the Australian Uranium and Rare Earths Conference in Fremantle.

"Despite some recent slowing in the industry, two important drivers of nuclear power remain unchanged - the rising energy demand from growing populations and the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."

He said that Australia is in a strong position to maximise these opportunities. Mr Gray also said that over the next two decades China and India plan to bring 35 reactors online. Australia already has strong trade relationships with these nations, so is well placed to meet their uranium needs.

Australia supplies China with approximately 22 per cent of its uranium, and negotiations are already underway with India for a bilateral safeguards agreement. Australia has already signed an agreement with Russia to supply uranium for civil nuclear facilities.

Mr Gray urged the industry to commit to further development of new mines so that Australian production can meet global demand, as demand may soon outstrip supply - even by next year.

He said in early June that the world's 435 nuclear power generators need over 66,000 tonnes of uranium to operate - that's 20 per cent more than is being produced by mines.

The Uranium Council of Australia is working with the government to streamline regulatory requirements so that the industry can develop with new and expanded investment.

Posted by Charlie Moore