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April 15, 2010

USA Considers Reprocessing or Recycling Uranium and Namibia Could Increase Uranium Production to 26,000 Tons Per Year by 2015

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There have been moves in favour of reprocessing and recycling used nuclear fuel on three continents.

* current world volumes of annual unburned nuclear material would take up the area of a football pitch to a height of 10 metres, a policy of central storage followed by reprocessing would reduce this to take up just "one end zone" at the same height, according to GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy CEO Jack Fuller
* Fuller said the USA "ought to go to recycling." The industry chief said he would soon tell secretary of energy Stephen Chu, "Don't go to reprocessing, go straight to recycling." The difference being an intermediate step where separated plutonium is stored

* Reprocessing was banned by Jimmy Carter in the hope that others would follow that example but France, UK, Japan and Russia all reprocess. China, South Korea, Ukraine and India are all heading towards reprocess or recycling uranium

2. Namibia's uranium output is expected to rise to around 52 million pounds of yellow cake by 2015 from 12 million (if uranium prices do not decline

Namibia's average uranium operational cost at around $35-40 per pound, compared with an average realised uranium price globally of around $50-55 per pound. Spot uranium on Wednesday stood at $41.50 per pound, down from a record around $136 in June 2007. The long term price was trading at $65 a pound in March. Namibia's uranium exports earned the country 6.45 billion Namibian dollars in 2008, up nearly 55 percent from the previous year, and boosted Namibia's GDP by 6.2 percent during that same year. Global uranium demand expected to nearly double to 133,000 tonnes by 2030
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