Published on Monday May 16 2011 (AEST)
AUSTRALIA'S uranium output is expected to double in the next four years and quadruple within 20 years, Resources and Energy Minister Martin Ferguson said today.
Production in recent years has been hampered by wet weather at the Ranger mine in Australia's Northern Territory and a shaft failure at Olympic Dam in South Australia, Mr Ferguson said.
"If production meets predictions, tonnage will double within four years, and quadruple within 20," Mr Ferguson said in speech notes for an industry conference.
Although problems at Japanese nuclear power facilities caused by March's devastating earthquake and tsunami have led some nations to review their nuclear programs, Mr Ferguson said "nuclear power has a future".
"Nuclear is an important part of the energy mix for many countries. It is a cleaner energy option and powers millions of homes and businesses around the world," Mr Ferguson said.
Production from Uranium One's Honeymoon uranium mine in South Australia is expected to start in the "next few months", Mr Ferguson said, adding that BHP Billiton is now considering an expansion of Olympic Dam, which could boost its uranium output eight-fold.