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Forty Years of Uranium Resources, Production and Demand in Perspective

The Red Book Retrospective

image of Forty Years of Uranium Resources, Production and Demand in Perspective
The biannual Uranium Resources, Production and Demand, also known as the "Red Book," was first published in 1965 and has since grown to be a recognised world reference on uranium. Over the 40 years of its existence, the Red Book has collected an impressive quantity of official data supplied by governments. This Red Book retrospective was undertaken to collect, collate, analyse and publish all of the key information collected in the 20 editions of the Red Book published between 1965 and 2004. Additionally, every effort has been made to fill in gaps in the record to provide the most complete and exhaustive information possible. As a result, the Red Book retrospective gives a full historical profile of the world uranium industry in the areas of exploration, resources, production, reactor-related requirements, inventories and price. It provides in-depth information relating to the histories of the major uranium-producing countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany (including the former German Democratic Republic), the Russian Federation (including the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) and the United States. For the first time, for example, a comprehensive look at annual and cumulative production and demand of uranium since the inception of the atomic age is possible. Besides reporting and documenting the historical data, expert analyses provide fresh insights into important aspects of the industry including: the cost of discovery, resources to production ratios and the time to reach production after discovery, among others. Taken together, this Red Book retrospective provides the most complete record of the uranium industry publicly available, dating from the birth of civilian nuclear energy through to the dawn of the 21st century.

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Executive summary

Nuclear Energy Agency

When the first Red Book was published in 1965, there were 29 reactors in operation worldwide with generating capacity totalling about 4 500 MWe. By 2003, 435 reactors were in operation with generating capacity totalling about 359 400 MWe. From 1965 to 2004, 20 Red Books were published, which over time tracked the growth of nuclear power and provided comprehensive official government data on uranium resources, exploration and production to the public. The 1965 Red Book included information relating to uranium resources in 16 countries with Reasonably Assured Resources (RAR) totalling 993 000 tU. By 2003 RAR totalling 3 169 000 tU were reported by 43 countries. The history of the Red Book has paralleled the growth of nuclear energy but has also been influenced by world events. Foremost among these was the Cold War, during which military requirements for uranium were a major influence on the uranium market. Other significant events included the oil crisis in 1973 that increased public awareness of the potential of nuclear energy, the Three Mile Island and Chernobyl reactor accidents that slowed the growth of nuclear power and the end of the Cold War in 1989 that led to introduction of significant secondary sources of uranium to the world market as well as the inclusion of new information on the uranium industries of Central and Eastern European countries beginning in 1991 and countries of the former USSR beginning in 1993.

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