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Uranium Policy in Australia – Embracing the Facts to Address the Challenges Monika Sarder Senior Policy & Research Coordinator, The AusIMM Australia’s.

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Presentation on theme: "Uranium Policy in Australia – Embracing the Facts to Address the Challenges Monika Sarder Senior Policy & Research Coordinator, The AusIMM Australia’s."— Presentation transcript:

1 Uranium Policy in Australia – Embracing the Facts to Address the Challenges Monika Sarder Senior Policy & Research Coordinator, The AusIMM Australia’s Uranium Conference 2006, Adelaide

2 Uranium – The advantages of understanding context When I was at university…a story about protestor…. Everyone wants a better world. Taking the initiative without having all the information can lead to bad outcomes. Policy under review: Uranium Mining Processing and Nuclear Energy Review, GNEP We need fully informed debate driven by expert opinion Technical professional institute – members involved in exploration, mining and milling Definition of a professional: puts community and profession first Members have identified this as a key issue

3 Context: Global, National & Local Globally: burgeoning energy demands, GHG emissions Nationally: legacy of 1980s and 90s green movement Locally: NIMBY attitude eg scrapping of Pangaea waste disposal facility in 1999 Roy Morgan Polling – –60% favour the development and export of uranium for peaceful purposes –30% in favour of allowing new uranium mines to proceed Inverse relationship with people’s perception of risk and the scale at which this activity occurs. ‘Unbundle’ and systematically address the risks

4 Nuclear Non Proliferation Safeguards Australia accounts for 22% uranium exports Eleven countries –All are party to NPT and IAEA safeguards –All have signed bilateral agreements –comprehensive accounting standards for full life of all nuclear material –Australia is an active proponents of strengthened safeguards – Additional Protocol Nuclear reactors require 5% enrichment, nuclear weapons require 90%. Gen IV - closed fuel cycle

5 Safety for Miners and Communities Codes of Practice for Health, Waste and Transport Radiation: –Australia has 40 years of experience applying international radiation safety regulations at uranium mines –Two out of three are certified under ISO 14001 Tailings –Normal engineering -tailings dams designed to retain the remaining solids and prevent any seepage of the liquid Water –Surface run off and water management continually being improved – building of $28 million water treatment plant at Ranger uranium. Transport –Yellowcake - since 1988, more than 2,000 containers shipped without incident.

6 Downstream: Safety & Waste Management Materials Stewardship – responsible management across supply chain is a concern of the industry Nuclear reactors producing electricity for 50 years, 12,000 reactor years of civil operational experience Chernobyl – Dangerous flawed reactor design, inadequately trained personnel – circumstances have no correlations with current sophisticated environments. 1000MW plant operating discharges 27 tonnes annually Comprise less than 1% of total OECD toxic waste Currently, interim storage then deep geological disposal

7 Benefits: Global In 2004 – IAEA says worlds energy use in 2030 will be 60% higher than now Driven by demand from developing countries eg Australia = 9178 kWh, PNG = 250 kWh On a fuel cycle basis, nuclear power stations produce less than 6 CO2/kWh compared to 980 g CO2/kWh for coal. Research into renewables and clean coal (eg geosequestration) China: 27 new reactors by 2020; India: 17 new reactors by 2012. With 40% of known low cost known energy reserves Australia is in a position of significant political, social and ethical responsibility.

8 Benefits: National and Local Economic Spot prices high – more than trebled in last three years 5 years to mid 2005 uranium exports bring in $2 billion Projected to increase as secondary sources exhausted Good for juniors Social (Knowledge Exporter): ANSTO has acted as a consultant in the rehabilitation mine sites Synroc for the immobilisation of high-level radioactive waste SILEX (Separation of Isotopes by Laser EXcitation) Enrichment Technology sold to GE Local Uranium mining and milling contributes significantly to rural economies as well as indigenous communities. Over $189 million for Ranger and $7 million for Jabiluka.

9 Industry challenges Challenges: –Public perception –Skills –CSR –Materials Stewardship –Exploration –Approvals process

10 Role for The AusIMM Skills: –Promote knowledge transfer, networking and best practice dissemination. –Access to experts. –Education advocacy Communication with public: –Media –Grass roots Communication with Government: –UIF Working groups, UMPNER –Formal and informal meetings. CSR and Materials stewardship: –Stimulate discussion –Promote best practice at conferences, in publications Exploration: –Advocacy around prospectivity

11 Now what? Debate that takes place next 3-5 years will have a significant impact. Best outcomes where: –Decision making based on comprehensive knowledge of context –Activities in an environment facilitates best practice. Don’t chain ourselves to the wrong bulldozer! Congratulate Federal and SA Govt on steps they have taken so far Look forward to being a part of the process. Policy paper, flyer and Competent Persons Skills list at: Email

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