March 22, 2011

Australia Weighs Nuclear Push After Japan Crisis

Published on Tuesday March 22 2011
Those conditions could add even more complexity, and potentially costs, to bilateral nuclear safeguards agreements focused previously on the spread of nuclear weapons.
"Australians will note also that the Fukushima disaster is prompting India to review its own nuclear safety. Following the crisis in Japan, and in the glare of the Indian media, the intended expansion of India's nuclear footprint may well slow or even stall," Medcalf said.

Australia has 22 bilateral nuclear safeguard agreements, which allow exports to 39 countries.

In recent years, Canberra has signed agreements with Russiaand China, and has already sent its first shipments of uranium into China, where uranium consumption is projected to grow by 44 percent to        18,000 tonnes by 2016.

At a uranium conference in South Australia state, Australian Uranium Association chief executive Michael Angwin said the economic factors driving countries to nuclear power use were unchanged by the Japan emergency.

             "Countries turn to nuclear energy because they wish to improve their energy security and expand their electricity generating capacity in a way that does not increase their carbon emissions. That remains the case," Angwin said.

Australia's uranium exports in the year to July 1, 2011 are forecast at 8,700 tonnes, up 21 percent on the previous year, with production set to expand an average 15 percent per year to July 2016 as several new mines set to start production.

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