Atomic Power: Is Uranium’s Long, Slow Demise Set to End?

by on
Style:
Category:
Commodities, Supply & Demand

Could uranium demand and prices be set to take off over the next few years?

Two-Month Trial: Metal Buying Outlook

Currently prices are languishing at 13-year lows due to excess raw material supply and the after effects of Japan’s Fukushima disaster which resulted in the mass idling of Japan’s nuclear reactors.

Nuclear may be thought of as yesterday's technology, but its emission-less power generation makes it attractive. Source: Adobe Stock/mandritoiou.

Nuclear may be thought of as yesterday’s technology, but its emission-less power generation makes it attractive. Source: Adobe Stock/mandritoiou.

According to a London Telegraph article, the resulting low prices have encouraged utilities to become “uncovered,” meaning with a low spot price they have resisted locking themselves into long-term contracts.

Analysts at Cantor Fitzgerald said up to 80% of the uranium market could be uncovered by 2025, leaving consumers scrabbling for supply with prices rising sharply at the end of the decade. As so often with cyclical commodity prices, the low-priced environment has discouraged exploration activity for uranium and it’s believed that the dearth of new projects in the pipeline could result in a chokepoint within a matter of years.

Larger reactors in the U.S. and Europe are coming off long-term supply contracts in 2018 only to hit the spot market while China is building some 60 reactors that will be coming to the market for the first time in the near future.

Even today, with ample supply, questions remain about some producing countries’ long-term viability. Kazakhstan is said to be by far the largest supplier to Europe providing some 27% the region’s needs.

Russia and Niger are also major producers and while Russia has proved a reliable natural gas supplier to Europe, it’s growing hostility to the continent raises questions about its long-term desirability as a supplier of yet another energy resource. Fortunately, Australia has the largest known uranium reserves with ample scope for raising production if demand requires it. But the country is becoming a less competitive source for commodities of all kinds with rising wage costs and environmental restrictions.

Some would suggest the move to renewable energy is negating the need for atomic power, but until such time as cheap and reliable large-scale electricity storage technology comes of age, baseload power production has to be supplied by nuclear, coal or natural gas.

MetalMiner Price Benchmarking: Current and Historical Prices for the Metals You Buy

The same policies that are driving investment in renewable energy are also working against coal and natural gas. Particularly for emerging markets like China and, in time, no doubt India where massive coal power plant investment has resulted in unknowable levels of atmospheric pollution. Nuclear-power continues to offer an attractive alternative. The long slow decline of uranium prices has taken some 13 years to reach its current nadir, the reversal may not take so long.

Comment (1)

  1. samir sardana says:

    The Aussies are selling Uranium to India

    What is Aussie selling to India ? Ore or Yellow Cake or U 235 Fuel Rods or MOX Rods ? Y is Aussie selling the Uranium to the Indians ?

    Indians have enough Uranium.They have hidden the uranium reserves,and deliberately created false flag attacks,in mining reserves,to represent to the world,that there is a uraium supply chain risk,in India.

    In any case,the Indians claim that their FBR program is a grand success,and so,Y do they need uranium ? Also Indians claim that they cracked the Thorium route – with Indian Magic.So Y do they need to import Uranium ?

    How have Aussies justified their conscience in the Uranium supply,to the Indians ? Is it that the Aussies are sacrificing their lives for the Poor Indians – who have no food,water, education and power ? The romantic dreams of John the Baptist,in the jungles with butterflies ! So the power from NPCIL will provide lights and education and e-cookers and water filtration systems,and solve all the problems of the Indian Poor ?

    What has India done in the last 5000 years,for the POOR Indians ? Nothing ! It is a Black Hole ! Still the Aussies want to sacrifice – just like the Essenes.dindooohindoo

    So the Uranium ore is mined (which is akin to digging out the poison from the core of the earth),and the overburden and tailing ponds,are resident in Aussie. – waiting for the tailing dams to burst or some Typhoon to strike.

    Y is Aussie aiding the Indians,to divert LEU to Research Reactors,for refinement to HEU.Indian Research Reactors are not within the purview of the IAEA safeguards and inspections.These reactors make weapons grade Uranium and also fuel for Nuke Submarines.Indian Nuke Subs will be directed ONLY AGAINST PRC.Y would Aussies want to be entangled in the Indo-China war ? The Indians have never done an Atomic Audit,of their Nuclear value chain.

    What is the end use of the DU end product,from the Aussie uranium,in Indian Nuke Plants ? Is it to make munitions and armour ?

    How will the poor benefit from the Nuke power,when the distribution grid does not exist,in POOR areas ? Do the POOR have the economic means of buying electrical appliances,to use the power ? The Nuke Power plants in India are already in existence – but the distribution grid has to be laid down and will cost Billions and take a long time.The Indian Distribution Grid is worthless.

    The Indian Nuke Power plants are a cover,to make weapons grade Uranium,at 95% U-235,and generate Plutonium and DU,from Nuke Power Plants.
    The Indian Poor 1st need incomes,then electricity can catalyse his empowerment.If India is really short of Uranium,then to make 20% of the power
    grid from Uranium or MOX which needs to be imported,per force,is a high risk option – for a nation like India.

    The Indians are buying time to bet that the future will bring out some tech innovation,to make mining and extraction of their low grade uranium ore – economically and financially viable.

    Indian Nuke Power from Aussie Uranium,will feed a Zero watt bulb and a water pump of the POOR INDIANS.This cannabis has been sold to the Aussies -and that is the REAL FISSION REACTION.The Magic.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.