16 April 2010 - Media Release - Greens Senator Ludlam wrong on uranium price effects of disarmament


Greens Senator Scott Ludlam is wrong and misleading to claim that the nuclear weapons reductions resulting from recent US-Russia disarmament deals would “flood” the nuclear fuel market, “dramatically” depress uranium prices and harm Australian uranium companies, the Australian Uranium Association said today.

“Senator Ludlam seems to have invented the idea that the latest US-Russia agreement requires the conversion of all the weapons material involved into civilian nuclear fuel. It does not. And he has missed the point that the agreement is to be implemented over seven years,” said the Chief Executive Officer of the AUA, Mr Michael Angwin.

“The nuclear fuel market has already factored in ‘diluted’ former weapons material as a significant component of the civilian nuclear fuel supply for nearly 20 years and will absorb any new ex-weapons material in the same way” Mr Angwin said.

The Australian Uranium Association has welcomed recent nuclear disarmament achievements of US President Barack Obama, saying they will boost confidence in the peaceful use of uranium-fuelled nuclear electricity around the world.

“The various deals President Obama has brokered on reduced numbers of United States and Russian nuclear weapons, and improved security controls over nuclear materials worldwide, are great news for the uranium industry,” said AUA Chief Executive Officer, Michael Angwin.

“The greater the efforts to reduce nuclear arsenals and make nuclear materials more secure, the better for our industry in terms of the increasing confidence people have in the nuclear fuel cycle,” Mr Angwin said.

Secondary fuel supplies – mostly ‘diluted’ former weapons material - already make up around 20 per cent of the world civilian nuclear fuel supply. Mined uranium makes up the rest.

“Mines in Australia and elsewhere already struggle to meet demand for uranium, which is steadily growing as more nations look to nuclear power for low-carbon, secure energy and existing nuclear countries grow their reactor fleets.

“So the depressed uranium prices Senator Ludlam forecasts are actually what he hopes will happen, not what will necessarily occur,” Mr Angwin said

“You have to wonder about an Australian Senator who delights in predicting strife for Australian exporting companies and their employees.”

Mr Angwin said the test for Senator Ludlam will be in what he says when the uranium price next increases.