Australian Government: National Pollutant Inventory: Beryllium and compounds
Worldwide, industrial grade beryl is used as a feedstock for beryllium metal, alloys and oxide, all of which have many high-tech applications particularly in the nuclear, electronic and ceramic industries. Beryllium is a structural material in space technology, inertial guidance systems, additive to rocket fuels, moderator and reflector of neutrons in nuclear reactors (e.g. at ANSTO, Lucas Heights). Pure beryllium metal is used to make aircraft disc brakes, nuclear weapons and reactors, aircraft-satellite-space vehicle structures and instruments, X-ray transmission windows, missile parts, fuel containers, precision instruments, rocket propellants, navigational systems, heat shields, and mirrors. Beryllium alloys such as beryllium-copper are used in electrical connectors and relays, springs, precision instruments, aircraft engine parts, non-sparking tools, submarine cable housings and pivots, wheels, and pinions. More specifically, beryllium oxide is used in the manufacture of specialty electrical and high-technology ceramics, special glass, electronic heat sinks, electron tubes, electrical insulators, electronics components, microwave oven components, nuclear fuels and nuclear moderators, gyroscopes, military vehicle armour, rocket nozzles, and laser structural components. Beryllium chloride is used in refining beryllium ores and as a chemical reagent. Beryllium fluoride is used in refining beryllium and manufacturing beryllium alloys, and as a chemical reagent. Beryllium nitrate is used as a chemical reagent, a gas mantle hardener and in refining beryllium ores.
Beryllium and its compounds are mainly used in Australia in very small quantities in electronic equipment. The relevance of beryllium and its compounds to Australia 's environmental and public health stems not from its commercial use, but its presence in emissions from combustion of fossil fuels in, for example, coal-fired power stations.