The Minerals Council of Australia welcomes the announcement by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop that she will sign a cooperation agreement to supply uranium to Ukraine for use in power generation, ahead of the coming Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC.

This development is another important step in responsibly growing Australia's market access for uranium exports.  It comes following Australia’s agreements with growing markets in the United Arab Emirates, China and India in recent years.

This Agreement will add Ukraine to the list of countries who have signed bilateral agreements with Australia committing them to use Australian-sourced uranium solely for peaceful purposes.

The architecture of international cooperation, IAEA Safeguards and bilateral agreements provides the framework for Australia’s supply of uranium to export markets under Treaty conditions committing those countries to use it exclusively for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation.

Ukraine has been and continues to be an important nuclear power generating country.

Today, Ukraine has 15 reactors generating about half of its electricity.  In 2004, it commissioned two large new reactors.  The government plans to maintain nuclear share in electricity production to 2030.  This will require substantial new reactors to be built.

According to the Joint Report by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the IAEA, Ukraine will go from 13.1 GWe nuclear generating capacity in 2013, to between 24.7-29.0 GWe nuclear generating capacity in 2035.  This will see their uranium requirements rise from 2480 tonnes in 2013, to between 4800-5300 tonnes per annum in 2035.

Australia holds almost a third of the world's uranium resources but currently supplies only around 10 per cent of global production.  In 2014-15 Australia exported more than 5500 tonnes or uranium generating more than half a billion dollars in export income.  Access to growing Ukrainian uranium demand creates opportunities for more tonnes, more exports, and more jobs in mine construction and operations.

This Agreement will offer Ukraine additional diversity of uranium supply, and it will offer Australia access to another important and growing market.

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