Uranium in Western Australia
Western Australia is rich in natural resources, and uranium is one of the many commodities that the State can mine to provide social and economic benefits to local communities and the rest of the State.
Not only do stringent State and Federal regulations apply, but the uranium sector is also subject to rigorous international standards and regulations.
The Department of Mines and Petroleum is the primary State Government agency responsible for regulating the uranium mining industry in Western Australia.
The headings of each section below link to more information about uranium, radiation and transport safety, and environmental management.
It also includes information about the uranium mining industry in Australia and the international nuclear power industry.
Uranium is the world's heaviest, naturally occurring element and is found in soil, rocks, human tissue, food, water and the ocean. Enriched uranium is used primarily as fuel for nuclear power stations.
Australia is the world’s third largest producer of uranium after Kazakhstan and Canada.
Radiation is all around us. We are exposed to natural background radiation from a variety of sources including gamma radiation from uranium, thorium, and potassium in the ground, and cosmic rays from outer space.
Comprehensive systems of radiation protection are in place to ensure that the health of workers and the community is protected.
The transport of uranium oxide is subject to stringent State, National and International controls. Australia has been transporting and exporting uranium oxide for more than 30 years without incident.
Potential environmental impacts are carefully assessed and monitored by both state and federal government agencies throughout the uranium mining cycle.
The worldwide nuclear industry (including uranium mining) is highly coordinated and tightly controlled. At an international, national and state level, various standards and safeguards are applied to ensure that the industry meets its security and safety obligations — this includes ensuring Australian uranium is not used in weapons.
As of July 2012 there were 435 nuclear reactors operating in 29 countries, generating about 14 per cent of the world’s electricity. This section also contains information about nuclear accidents.