Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Australian Uranium

AP (08.09.05):
"Australia and China are negotiating an agreement to allow Australia to export uranium to China for peaceful purposes, the foreign minister said today. Preliminary talks are underway to secure a Chinese commitment that the uranium would be used only for electricity generation, Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said." Australia Announces China Uranium Talks
"He said China was the world's second-largest energy consumer and planned to meet its growing demand with a fourfold increase in nuclear energy production by 2020." The US is the world's largest energy consumer. China is also Australia's second-biggest export market. To the increasing consternation of Washington, Australia hasn't exactly been toeing the party line. Australia's prime minister John Howard and Mr. Bush met last July at the White House. At a news conference after their meeting, "a key difference emerged between [them] over relations with China. Melbourne Age (07.21.05):
"With Mr Bush emphasising that a tough approach was needed on China's human rights record, Mr Howard signalled that Australia would put economic priorities first. 'I think that Australia, first of all, has got to act in her own interests,' he said." Bush presses PM on rights in China
Uranium mining is a very big business in Australia. Bloomberg says the value of uranium exports from Australia "may rise to [$498 million] in the year ending June 30, 2006, from [about $280 million] in year ended June 30, 2005, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics." The Uranium Information Center (whose purpose "is to increase Australian public understanding of uranium mining and nuclear electricity generation") says that from mid-2000 to mid-2005, Australia exported about $1.58 billion worth of uranium oxide to 11 countries. The UIC has a link to the World Nuclear Association's "Reactor Database", in case you're interested. To find out more about uranium, go take a look at this guy's site. He's built a periodic table that really is a table. Here's his page on uranium. If you're an engineer of any sort, you've probably wrestled with a program he helped write: Mathematica.


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