LeadingPractice

International interest in uranium and nuclear energy continues to grow. Many countries which currently use nuclear energy are expanding and upgrading their nuclear industries. Other countries that have not used nuclear power are looking to do so.

Many countries face a complex set of energy problems. They are asking, with the continuing pressure of growing populations, how can we meet increasing demand for stable, constant electricity supply that is climate friendly, non-polluting, relatively low cost and available now?

For many, uranium-fuelled nuclear power provides a ready solution, particularly as part of a balanced portfolio of electricity sources designed to meet each country's specific requirements.

Nuclear power stations are operating in around 30 countries and have been doing so safely and reliably for many decades.

Across its lifecycle (uranium mining, processing shipping; uranium fuel manufacture; nuclear power generation; plant decommissioning; waste management and disposal) nuclear power is a low-carbon energy source.

Nuclear power stations emit no carbon dioxide in producing electricity. They do not add to air pollution. The lifecycle emissions of nuclear energy are much less than coal and gas powered electricity. It has lower carbon emissions than solar thermal and solar photovoltaic power. It is about on a par with wind and hydro power.

Despite its environmental benefits, nuclear power (and uranium mining) raise doubts in some people's minds. Radiation and  the management of radioactive waste trouble many people. Others worry about the potential spread of nuclear weapons. And yet others are preoccupied by past failings in management and safety practices and by accidents.

The emergency at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan has heightened those concerns for many people.

The nuclear energy industry world-wide is working to identify and learn all the lessons available from the Fukushima accident, bearing in mind that the emergency was the result of the combined impact of two of the most powerful natural disasters Japan - and the world - have ever experienced.

Countries around the world are prudently reviewing their nuclear policies. They are examining the safety and disaster preparedness of their existing nuclear power plants. They are reviewing their plans for future plants, both in terms of the scale and timing of future expansion. 

The industry and nuclear regulators are looking at fundamental design principles to ensure new reactors will have the maximum possible capability to withstand natural disasters and other emergencies.

The Fukushima response is likely to result in improved international safety and operational standards aimed at ensuring better disaster preparedness and maximum possible resilience of nuclear reactors around the world.

The factors which drive national Governments around the world to consider nuclear energy as an electricity generation option remain as powerful today as they were before the earthquake and tsunami hit the Fukushima plant.

The Fukushima response reinforces the principle that organisations involved in the nuclear fuel cycle must respond to increasing pressure to manage flawlessly; behave responsibly; operate safely and communicate transparently.

Recognising its place as an integral part of the global nuclear fuel cycle, Australia’s uranium industry is always working to improve its performance; always learning and always striving to reassure the community.

We are acknowledging people’s concerns and asking how we should address them. 

We’re contributing where we can to the effort against nuclear weapons proliferation.

We encourage the development of effective waste management solutions.

In all these areas, the Australian uranium industry seeks to apply the highest standards and demonstrate exemplary behaviour. All  to support our claim that uranium-fuelled nuclear energy is a permanent and sustainable component of the world's energy portfolio for the twenty first century.