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Title: Uranium resources and requirements.
Authors: Silver, JM
Wright, WJ
Issue Date: Aug-1975
Publisher: Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
Abstract: The amount of uranium available to support the world's nuclear power programs depends on the price which users are prepared to pay for its recovery. As the price is raised, it is attractive to recover uranium from lower grade deposits, thereby increasing the total quantity available. About 3.5 million tonnes of uranium is estimated to be available to the Western World in deposits which could be recovered for present day costs of less that $A30 per kilogram. This amount is believed to be sufficient to meet the nuclear power program until the turn of the century. There are good prospects for the discovery of further deposits (particularly in Africa, Canada, South America and Australia) which could extend these resources. If the Fast Breeder Reactor is introduced by about 1990, it could ultimately decrease the uranium from about 2020 onwards. The total amount of uranium required to support the Light Water Reactor power program until this happens would be about 7 million tonnes. On present evidence, this could be available from high grade deposits, together with some low grade deposits and by-product sources at costs less than $A60 per kilogram. If the Fast Breeder Reactor is not introduced as expected, the demand for uranium will continue to increase and it could be necessary to recover uranium from black shales or ultimately from sea water at costs ranging up to $A300 per kilogram. Australia has about 19% of the reasonably assured resources of uranium in the Western World recoverable at costs of less than $A20 per kilogram, or about 9% of the resources (reasonably assured and estimated additional) recoverable at costs of less than $A30 per kilogram. Australia's potential for further discoveries of uranium is good. Nevertheless, if Australia did not export any of these resources it would probably have only a marginal effect on the development of nuclear power; other resources would be exploited earlier and prices would rise, but not sufficiently to make the costs of nuclear power unattractive. On the other hand, this policy could deny to Australia real benefits in foreign exchange earnings, employment and national development.
ISBN: 0642997055
Appears in Collections:Scientific and Technical Reports

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