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Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Government - Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally

Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Annual Report 2000-2001

Australian Uranium Exports

In 2000-01 Australia exported 9,722 tonnes of uranium ore concentrates (U3O8 or U3O8 equivalent, amounting to 8,244 tonnes contained uranium). This quantity of uranium is sufficient for the annual fuel requirements of some 41 reactors (each of 1000 MWe), producing around 305 billion kilowatt hours (i.e. 305 terawatt hoursTWh) of electricityone and a half times Australias own electricity production, which in 2000 totalled about 200 TWh.

Australia holds over a quarter of the worlds uranium resources recoverable at less than $US80/kg. In 2000 the Olympic Dam and Ranger mines were respectively the worlds second and third largest uranium producers, and overall Australia was the worlds second largest uranium exporter.

While Australia recognises the importance of this substantial uranium holding as a source of energy for other countries not as well endowed with natural resources, strong support for the nuclear non-proliferation regime has always been a paramount consideration.

Australia exports uranium only to countries within its network of bilateral safeguards agreementsdetails of these agreements and the conditions under which Australia exports uranium are given in the following pages.

Australia has 15 bilateral agreements covering 25 countries. These agreements are listed in Table 4 on page 71. Those countries which imported Australian uranium in 2000 are listed in Table 3 below.

Table 3 Countries to which Australian Uranium was supplied in 2000

Country

Tonnes UOC(U3O8)

% of total (rounded)

US

4152.1

47.2

Japan

2153.7

24.5

ROK

1025.3

11.7

France

497.1

5.7

UK

486.9

5.5

Sweden

235.8

2.7

Canada

99.6

1.1

Belgium

88.5

1.0

Finland

53.1

0.6

Total

8792.1

100

These figures are for calendar year 2000 and do not correspond exactly to exports for the 2000-01 financial year. The destinations are based on the contracted end user at the time of export and do not take account of possible on-selling to other countries within Australias bilateral network

As at the end of 2000 there were 438 power reactors in operation in over 30 countries, with a total electrical generating capacity of over 350 GWe, and an electrical output of around 2,450 TWh. These reactors produced 16% of the worlds electricity (details are on page 66). Of these, 339 reactors were operated by countries eligible to use Australian uranium. The reactors in these countries produced 13.6% of total world electricity: nuclear energys contribution to electricity production in countries using Australian uranium ranged from almost 12% in Canada to 76% in France.

In 2000, exports of Australian uranium represented around 12% of the total carbon dioxide emissions avoided world-wide through generating electricity by nuclear energy rather than fossil fuels. Countries using Australian uranium thereby avoided carbon dioxide emissions of around 340 million tonnesequivalent to around 90% of Australias total carbon dioxide emissions (from all sources).

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade