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09 November 2015

World Trade in nuclear related items

This visualisation accounts for the totality of world trade in set of nuclear- and chemical-relevant commodities. Within The classification criteria of the data rely on the relationship between importer (left to right) and exporter (top to bottom). These can be selected in the drop-down menu, which is found to the right of the working sheet. Membership to the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) is also considered and states adhering/not adhering to the regime can be filtered out – although this function will be selected automatically when opting for a particular state in the ‘Exporter’ category. It is also possible to select the data by year for a period ranging between 2008 and 2013, although multiple years can be selected at any given time and the values corresponding to these years will be displayed accordingly.

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The numeric values correspond to the total amount of transactions in relevant commodities (in USD) that have taken place in the selected timeframe for a particular importer or exporter.

As such, it is possible to single out the value of European-origin uranium exports to the United States – in 2013, these amounted to a total of $1,701,254,645. Although the US is clearly outlined as the EU’s biggest importer of the commodity, followed by France at the considerably lower value of $640,142,143 in the same year, a comparison to previous years will quickly reveal that EU exports of uranium to the United States have almost halved since 2008, when they were valued at $3,163,229,450. This reduction has taken place gradually and continuously and may speak to the shifting relationship between the two traders over the course of 6 years. However, upon further consideration, a singling out of the USA as an importer of the same commodity reveals that the EU has remained the US’ single largest provider of uranium during this time, followed, in this order, by Russia, Australia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, China and Canada. This would suggest that the US has considerably reduced its import of uranium between 2008 and 2013, which, in turn, could open up the possibility for the interpretation of US policy on this matter.

Similar associations can be made for other countries, both as importers and as exporters, and for trade in relevant commodities in the selected timeframe.

Data is based on information recorded by the United Nations Commodity Trade Statistics Database (UN Comtrade), as taken from CEPII (available to all Comtrade subscribers here; Due to the Limitations of the nomenclature used in these datasets Belgium and Luxembourg have been amalgamated and records pertaining to Serbia and several other nations omitted.

Disclaimer: It is important to note that the commodity categories are not exhaustive; Project Alpha is currently working on adding other nuclear-relevant commodities pertaining to several other HS codes, as established by the international Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (Harmonized Systems).

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