By Stephan Frühling, Michael Clarke
Australia's Uranium alternate explores why the export of uranium is still a hugely debatable factor in Australia and the way this impacts Australia's engagement with the strategic, regime and industry geographical regions of foreign nuclear affairs. The publication makes a speciality of the main demanding situations dealing with Australian coverage makers in a twenty-first century context the place civilian nuclear strength intake is increasing considerably whereas even as the overseas nuclear nonproliferation regime is topic to expanding, and exceptional, pressures. by way of targeting Australia as a admired case examine, the booklet is anxious with how a historically robust supporter of the foreign nuclear nonproliferation regime is trying to recalibrate its curiosity in maximizing the commercial and diplomatic advantages of elevated uranium exports in the course of a interval of flux within the strategic, regime and industry nation-states of nuclear affairs. Australia's Uranium alternate offers broader classes for the way – certainly no matter if – nuclear providers around the globe are adapting to the altering nuclear atmosphere the world over.
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Extra info for Australia's Uranium Trade : The Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges of a Contentious Export
Decisions may be driven by politics, national pride, perceived energy security needs, industrialization strategy, or, in the unlikely worst case, nuclear weapons ‘hedging’, rather than sound financial analysis or a rational national energy strategy. While stretching a national budget to buy a nuclear power plant may in theory be possible, this always implies opportunity costs. Development banks do not loan for nuclear energy and private investors are wary. The only developing countries that may be able to ignore such constraints are those with oil-derived wealth, such as Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and the small Gulf States.
Small and medium-size nuclear reactors which might fit this new model are still in the research and development stage. None have so far been demonstrated to have better economics than large reactors (1,000 MW and above) which are touted for their economies of scale. The safety, security and non-proliferation implications of small and medium-sized reactors are also currently unknown. Renewables, such as solar, wind and biofuels, currently face many challenges, including intermittency of supply (wind and solar); the need for enormous tracts of land (wind, solar, biofuels) and energy storage (battery technology is currently inadequate).
In terms of nuclear weapon proliferation, there is no need for alarm, given that beyond the existing states with nuclear weapons in Australia’s region (China, India, North Korea and Pakistan) none are likely to seek such weapons, or the parts of the civilian nuclear fuel cycle that would provide weapons-grade fissile material. As a major uranium exporter, Australia is well placed both to help ensure the continued strengthening of nuclear safeguards, as well as insisting on more exacting conditions for its uranium sales, as it has done in the past.
Australia's Uranium Trade : The Domestic and Foreign Policy Challenges of a Contentious Export by Stephan Frühling, Michael Clarke