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The world’s energy demands continue to rise. Electricity demand alone is increasing twice as fast as overall energy use.
Nuclear power currently provides about 13.5 per cent of the world’s electricity. In the 34 countries represented by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), nuclear’s share of power generation is 24 per cent. In the European Union, it’s 34 per cent.
Electricity production from nuclear energy is extremely efficient. Only a very small amount of energy is needed to produce a very large amount of power. For example one kilogram of U3O8 can produce as much energy as 20,000 tons of coal.
Nuclear power generation is especially suitable for reliable, large-scale, continuous electricity demand. According to the Australian Government, Australia’s uranium is used in civilian nuclear power reactors in the USA, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, South Korea, China, Belgium, Spain, Canada and Taiwan.
The World Energy Outlook estimates that global nuclear power capacity could increase by 60 percent by 2040.
Kazakhstan is the world’s largest producer of uranium from mining, representing around 38 per cent of global annual production. Including Russia, Uzbekistan and Ukraine, more than 40 per cent of uranium supply is now sourced from the former Soviet bloc. Canada is the second largest supplier at about 17 per cent, followed by Australia at 11 per cent. Australia’s contribution continues to lag behind its potential to supply to the world uranium market, as Australia has about 32 per cent of the world’s known uranium resources.
At the end of 2015 there were some 437 operable nuclear power reactors globally in 31 countries, and 65 reactors under construction in 15 countries including China (2 reactors being built), Russia (11), India (6) and the Republic of Korea (4).
Toro is confident that uranium demand will continue to rise as global energy consumption increases, new and replacement nuclear reactors are installed, and as nuclear power replaces higher carbon emission generating sources such as fossil fuels.
For further details about global nuclear markets visit the World Nuclear Association (WNA) website.
Uranium mining and export has occurred safely in Australia for over 30 years. Australia’s known uranium resources are the world’s largest, representing almost 32 per cent of resources recoverable at reasonable cost.
In 2013-14 Australia produced 5,710 tonnes of uranium oxide concentrate from four operating mines located in the Northern Territory and South Australia. This production could expand to as much as 8,900 tonnes by 2019. As well as Toro’s Wiluna mine, there are three other projects in Western Australia capable of meeting this growing demand, including the Kintyre deposit, Mulga Rocks and Yeelirrie deposits.
SA Royal Commission
IEA – WEO