Uranium Articles

Calm down, uranium is a conversation Australia needs to have

WHEN THE UNITED NATIONS Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the latest round of their reports in March and April, environment groups and scientists across the globe were quick to highlight their findings and warnings. The first of these IPCC reports, released on 31 March, examined the vulnerability of socio-economic and natural systems to climate change, potential impacts, and options for adaptation. The second report released on 14 April noted with “high confidence” that “delaying mitigation efforts … is estimated to substantially increase the difficulty of the transition to low longer-term emissions levels and narrow the range of options consistent with maintaining temperature change below 2°C relative to pre-industrial levels”.
Unsurprisingly, the reports and the commentary surrounding them drove significant global media coverage. And rightly so. The UN’s IPCC reports are important documents with serious warnings about climate change.
But in between these two reports, the UN also produced another important document on the environment that went almost completely unremarked by the green movement.
On 2 April, the UN’s Scientific Committee on the effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR) released its report to the General Assembly on the effects of radiation exposure from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear incident.
The report’s remarkable conclusion may help explain why the environment movement was not so keen to talk about it.

2014 is set to be a big year for Australia’s industry uranium

I joined the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) in mid-October 2013; effectively as a successor to Michael Angwin who had headed the Australian Uranium Association since 2006 and successfully led it through to its merger with the MCA in late 2013.  Under Michael’s leadership, the uranium industry consolidated itself as an important component of Australia’s mining landscape. I take over the responsibility of building on Michael’s legacy at a time of great excitement for the sector. Here’s why 2014 is shaping up as a good year for our industry. The supply-demand balance for uranium moved into a new era as the Megatons to Megawatts program came to an end in December 2013. This program saw 20 000 Russian warheads down blended to nuclear power plant fuel and supplied half of America’s uranium needs for the last two decades. New mined uranium is now needed to replace this. Uranium prices have been in the doldrums through the second half of 2013 but many are predicting a correction this year. From prices under $US40/lb early in 2013, Deutsche forecasts price to be back over $US50/lb by year’s end based on demand from Japanese restarts and Chinese new reactors.

Nuclear Energy will power the future

THE SMALL NUMBER OF Australians vehemently opposed to uranium mining and nuclear power are obviously not avid readers nor weight-lifters. If they were, they would have seen the International Energy Agency’s enormous 687-page, two-kilogram report on the world’s energy outlook released last month. It should be compulsory reading for those who think Australia’s uranium industry and nuclear power has a bleak future.

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