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UCL Launches New MSc Programme on Global Management of Natural Resources

Published: Jan 19, 2016 5:07:52 AM

UCL Australia Graduation 2015

Published: Dec 3, 2015 1:33:45 AM

Santos Scholarship 2016

Published: Sep 22, 2015 2:09:55 AM


UCL Australia
Torrens Building
220 Victoria Square
Adelaide, South Australia, 5000

Tel: +61 8 8110 9960
Fax: +61 8 8212 3039

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Research at UCL Australia

UCL School of Energy and Resources

Research in the School of Energy and Resources focuses on both the upstream and downstream development of energy and resources, covering a wide range of disciplines - from engineering and economics to environmental science and law. 

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Mullard Space Science Laboratory

The Mullard Space Science Laboratory (MSSL) is a world-leading research organisation delivering a broad science programme that is underpinned by a strong capability in space science instrumentation, space-domain engineering, space medicine, systems engineering and project management.

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International Energy Policy Institute

The International Energy Policy Institute (IEPI) was created to address key policy issues in the mineral, energy and resources industries through intensive and innovative research.

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2014 Annual Report

2014 Annual Report cover

Read about all departmental research in the 2014 Annual Report.

Domestic and International Considerations Relating to the Development of the Front-End of the Nuclear Fuel Cycle in Australia

James Abbott

James ABBOTT (BA Hons, MERE)

Project submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of MSc (Energy and Resources), UCL Australia.


The Australian or South Australian Government should invest in uranium enrichment company URENCO, which is being privatised.  A strategic investment would give Australia access to profits without the risk of developing a new technology, leaving the options open for Australia to construct a future uranium enrichment facility.

As one of the world’s largest producers of uranium, Australia’s current production only transforms uranium ore into yellowcake, which is then exported to other jurisdictions for manufacturing into nuclear fuel. Australia’s lack of vertical integration and the failure to capture significant “value-added” in an environment of growing uranium demand warrants further evaluation.

This research used a microeconomic cost-engineering model to determine whether Australia could profitably operate a conversion and enrichment plant, as well as an estimation of the transport advantage for Australia in supplying South/East Asia (in comparison to incumbent producers).  A review of legal impediments to domestic development of the nuclear fuel cycle was also considered. 

The economic analysis indicates the uranium conversion could not independently operate in Australia. A conversion and enrichment plant with joint operations would be marginally profitable in Australia.