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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 1999-2000

Australian Uranium Exports

In 1999-2000 Australia exported 8,023 tonnes of U3O8 (uranium ore concentrates). This quantity of uranium is sufficient for the annual fuel requirements of about 40 reactors (of 1000 MWe), producing around 300 billion kilowatt hours (i.e. 300 terawatt hoursTWh) of electricityone and a half times Australias own electricity production, which in 1999 totalled about 200 TWh.

Australia holds over a quarter of the worlds uranium resources recoverable at less than $US80/kg. In 1999 the Ranger and Olympic Dam mines were respectively the worlds second and third largest uranium producers, and overall Australia was the worlds third 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 with which it has a bilateral safeguards agreementdetails 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 10 on page 88. Those countries which imported Australian uranium in 1999 are listed in Table 9.

Table 9 Countries to which Australian Uranium was supplied in 1999

Country

Tonnes yellowcake (U3O8)

% of total (rounded)

Total

7171.7

100

US

2302.0

32.1

Japan

2246.6

31.3

ROK

687.6

9.6

UK

599.7

8.4

France

497.2

7.0

Sweden

366.7

5.1

Canada

171.6

2.4

Germany

158.8

2.2

Belgium

88.4

1.2

Finland

53.1

0.7

These figures are for calendar year 1999 and do not correspond exactly to exports for the 1999-2000 financial year.

As at the end of 1999 there were 433 power reactors in operation in over 30 countries, with a total electrical generating capacity of around 350 GWe, and an electrical output of 2,400 TWh. These reactors produced 16% of the worlds electricity (details are on page 83). Of these, 340 reactors were operated by countries eligible to use Australian uranium. The reactors in these countries produced 13% of total world electricity: nuclear energys contribution to electricity production in countries using Australian uranium ranged from 12.4% in Canada to 75% in France.

In 1999, exports of Australian uranium represented over 11% 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, relative to coal, equivalent to around two thirds of Australias total carbon dioxide emissions (from all sources).

Return to the ASNO Annual Report IndexSafeguards on Australian Uranium Exports

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade