Uranium will soon be in short supply

  • 08/09/2023

The global nuclear power industry will increase its capacity by three-quarters in the coming decades, according to an industry report prepared by the Nuclear Association. If you don’t quickly start developing new mines, there will be a shortage on the market very quickly.

On Thursday, the World Nuclear Association, in its first market report since 2021, said there were 391 gigawatts of nuclear power plants worldwide, meeting a tenth of global electricity demand. According to the forecast, by 2040 this figure will increase to 686, and possibly to 931 gigawatts.

At an event in London, industry executives said the accompanying rise in fuel demand would lead to a reduction in uranium supplies. After the disaster at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011, which led to the closure of dozens of reactors, the uranium market was dormant for ten years. Mining companies have cut production due to low prices.

However, Japan has recently restarted reactors, and new reactors have come online in the US, Europe and Asia. The Inflation Reduction Act has prompted US utilities to extend the life of existing reactors.

Miners and other companies in the complex nuclear fuel supply chain are scrambling to ramp up production to meet increased demand, traders said. As a result, uranium prices in recent days have reached near their highest levels in a decade.

Shares of uranium miners, including New York-listed Uranium Energy and Toronto-listed Denison Mines, are rising strongly. So are shares of the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust, a Toronto-based fund that buys a physical form of uranium called “yellow cake,” allowing investors to profit from rising prices.

“Intensive development of new projects will be required in the current decade to avoid possible future supply disruptions,” the WNA report said. Once discovered, uranium extraction takes eight to 15 years.