TABLE 10–7 Estimated World Resources of Uranium Recoverable at Costs up to $130 per Kilogram as of January 1977 (thousands of metric tons)

Region

Reasonably Assured Resources

Estimated Additional Resources

Total

North America

825.0

1709.0

2534.0

Western Europe

389.3

95.4

484.7

Australia, New Zealand, and Japan

303.7

49.0

352.7

Latin America

64.8

66.2

131.0

Middle East and North Africa

32.1

69.6

101.7

Africa south of Sahara

544.0

162.9

706.9

East Asia

3.0

0.4

3.4

South Asia

29.8

23.7

53.5

World (except communist countries)

2191.7

2176.2

4367.9

Source: J.S.Foster, M.F.Duret, G.J.Phillips. J.I.Veeder, W.A.Wolfe, and R.M.Williams, “The Contribution of Nuclear Power to World Energy Supply, 1975–2020," in World Energy Resources 1985–2020 (Guilford, U.K.: IPC Science and Technology Press, 1978), p. 116.

are also sizeable amounts in France and in a few African nations. Except for Australia, all these countries have had some production in recent years. The Soviet Union and other communist countries are not included in the world totals. The total of 4.4 million tons in Table 10–7 is equivalent to about 150 years of current production, but uranium use will, of course, increase as nuclear power becomes more important.

Australia is the principal source of uncertainty about the world’s uranium resources. Not only are many known uranium deposits spread over the Australian continent, suggesting that reserves are larger than the current estimates, but Australia’s policy on uranium exports is also a matter of conjecture. The country has no urgent need for nuclear power, being well endowed with coal, hydroelectricity, and natural gas, so domestic demand is not an obstacle to exports. However, Australian minerals policy has generally been one of wariness toward foreigners, mitigated by a desire for development of the outlying regions, where minerals are usually found. At the moment it appears likely that Australia will permit some uranium exports under stringent controls to prevent nuclear proliferation, and only in quantities that are too small to depress the world price seriously. While Canada is an established exporter, its future policies may not be very different from Australia’s. However, Canada may also attempt to tie uranium exports to sales of its heavy water



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