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$87.00/lb U3O8

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 Overview of Uranium Price, Supply, and Demand

 

    

 

 

Current Price:

U308 $87.00/lb* Effective April 1, 2024 (-$1.50 from survey 1 weeks prior). 

 

Commentary Update as of September-2023

 

Uranium is officially in a bull market with a 20% rise in price so far in 2023, vastly outperforming other metals markets.

Uranium scaled $60 per pound on Friday for the first time since 2011. The breakthrough for the nuclear fuel after a decade in the doldrums coincided with the last day of the World Nuclear Symposium in London.

The World Nuclear Association’s (WNA) biennial report provides long and medium term projections and insights into the more obscure corners of the global supply chain.

The report has done little to worry uranium bulls, the ranks of which has grown large in the past couple of years, as the role nuclear could play in the green energy transition becomes obvious even to long term critics of the renewable source.

The nuclear option
The WNA report predicts world reactor requirements for uranium to surge to almost 130,000 tonnes (~285 million pounds) in 2040. That’s up from an estimate of 65,650 tonnes in 2023.

Under the World Nuclear Association upper forecast that total rise to 184,300 tonnes and even its most pessimistic forecast – 87,000 tonnes in 2040 – translates to a healthy rise in demand for the commodity.

From the current 391 gigawatts electricity of operable nuclear plants, the WNA now projects capacity will reach 686 GW by 2040 under its base case scenario. It’s a hefty increase of 71 GW from the organization's estimates in its the 2021 report.

Uranium price makes fresh decade high as forecasts grow rosier
The bulk of new generating capacity will be located in China, which is aggressively pursuing nuclear energy to replace coal, which supplies the bulk of the country’s energy needs currently. The country has 23 reactors under construction, 23 planned and a further 168 proposed to add to its current operating fleet of 53 reactors. Worldwide 436 reactors are currently in operation and another 59 under construction.

Overall demand projections from the WNA have increased in the last update, with 4.1% CAGR demand growth expected through 2040, from 3.1% in its 2021 report.

SMR
The role small modular reactors can play in stoking demand has kept uranium watchers excited for decades, but now the promised spike in demand from these technologies are finally set to have a meaningful impact. Russia is a leader in the field with two floating SMR reactors entering commercial operation in 2020 and China is expected to turn the switch on a land-based reactor in 2025.

A significant portion of the WNA’s upward growth adjustments can be attributed to the accelerated adoption of SMRs and the body believes installed capacity will reach 31 GW by 2040.

In a note, BMO Capital Markets says the WNA’s forecasts for SMRs appear to conservative considering the potential of the technology’s use in everything from shipping to data centres.

The investment bank’s own forecasts point to 58GW of installed SMR capacity by the end of the next decade or around a tenth of nuclear generation capacity which is in line with the upper band of the WNA’s predictions.

Remote chances
BMO sees SMR boosting mining companies plans around decarbonisation of operations many of which are located in remote areas far from power grids. Many mines have replaced diesel generators with renewable sources like solar power, but for that you need ample space and the right climate:

“For others, particularly in colder climates such as Canada, we do see potential for micro-scale nuclear power solutions.

Uranium price makes fresh decade high as forecasts grow rosier
“Indeed, in much the same way as platinum producers are championing hydrogen-based trucks by installing them at their operations, we see an opportunity where uranium miners could potentially be pioneers in the use of SMRs.”

BMO believes remote mine sites have the best potential for SMR installations after marine freight and steelmaking.

Security and secondary supply
The report was likely already at the printers when the coup in Niger grabbed newspaper headlines – but the WNA does point to “geopolitical instability, notably resulting from the Russia-Ukraine” resulting in increased interest in nuclear power for energy security and sovereignty.”

“The same instability has had significant implications for the globalized market for nuclear fuel cycle services, with utilities, suppliers and governments in North America and Europe pursuing opportunities to diversify supplies,” the WNA says.

WNA believes in the near term, secondary supplies of uranium will continue to play a role in bridging the gap between supply and demand as it has for more than three decades. But there is good news for miners longer term and the WNA acknowledges in its report the need for new greenfield uranium projects.

“However, secondary supply is projected to have a gradually diminishing role in the world market, decreasing from the current level in supplying 11-14% of reactor uranium requirements to 4-11% in 2050.“

Secondary supplies include, among others, reprocessed nuclear fuel, down blending of highly enriched uranium in nuclear weapons, tailing re-enrichment and stockpiles from oversupply between 1950–1970, BMO explains. BMO estimates roughly 3.7 years’ worth of reactor requirements are currently held as inventory.

 

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Nuclear power made up 4.3% of the global energy mix in 2020, supplying many nations with carbon-free electricity.
 

Here are the world's nuclear energy powerhouses:

 

 

Nuclear Power Production by Country
Nearly 450 reactors around the world supply various nations with nuclear power, combining for about 10% of the world’s electricity, or about 4% of the global energy mix.
 

But while some countries are turning to nuclear as a clean energy source, nuclear energy generation overall has seen a slowdown since its peak in the 1990s.
 

The above image breaks down nuclear electricity generation by country in 2020 using data from the Power Reactor Information System (PRIS).

Ranked: The Top 15 Countries for Nuclear Power
Just 15 countries account for more than 91% of global nuclear power production. Here’s how much energy these countries produced in 2020:

 

Rank Country Number of Operating Reactors Nuclear Electricity Supplied
[GWh]
% share
#1 U.S.  96 789,919 30.9%
#2 China  50 344,748 13.5%
#3 France  58 338,671 13.3%
#4 Russia  39 201,821 7.9%
#5 South Korea  24 152,583 6.0%
#6 Canada  19 92,166 3.6%
#7 Ukraine  15 71,550 2.8%
#8 Germany  6 60,918 2.4%
#9 Spain  7 55,825 2.2%
#10 Sweden  7 47,362 1.9%
#11 U.K.  15 45,668 1.8%
#12 Japan  33 43,099 1.7%
#13 India  22 40,374 1.6%
#14 Belgium  7 32,793 1.3%
#15 Czechia  6 28,372 1.1%
  Rest of the World 44 207,340 8.1%
  Total 448 2,553,208 100.0%

In the U.S., nuclear power produces over 50% of the country’s clean electricity. Additionally, 88 of the country’s 96 operating reactors in 2020 received approvals for a 20-year life extension.
 

China, the world’s second-largest nuclear power producer, is investing further in nuclear energy in a bid to achieve its climate goals. The plan, which includes building 150 new reactors by 2035, could cost as much as $440 billion.
 

On the other hand, European opinions on nuclear energy are mixed. Germany is the eighth-largest on the list but plans to shutter its last operating reactor in 2022 as part of its nuclear phase-out. France, meanwhile, plans to expand its nuclear capacity.
 

Which Countries Rely Most on Nuclear Energy?
Although total electricity generation is useful for a high-level global comparison, it’s important to remember that there are some smaller countries not featured above where nuclear is still an important part of the electricity mix.

Here’s a breakdown based on the share of nuclear energy in a country’s electricity mix:

 

Rank Country Nuclear Share of Electricity Mix
#1 France  70.6%
#2 Slovakia  53.1%
#3 Ukraine  51.2%
#4 Hungary  48.0%
#5 Bulgaria  40.8%
#6 Belgium  39.1%
#7 Slovenia  37.8%
#8 Czechia  37.3%
#9 Armenia  34.5%
#10 Finland  33.9%
#11 Switzerland  32.9%
#12 Sweden  29.8%
#13 South Korea  29.6%
#14 Spain  22.2%
#15 Russia  20.6%
#16 Romania  19.9%
#17 United States  19.7%
#18 Canada  14.6%
#19 United Kingdom  14.5%
#20 Germany  11.3%

European countries dominate the leaderboard with 14 of the top 15 spots, including France, where nuclear power is the country’s largest source of electricity.
 

It’s interesting to note that only a few of these countries are top producers of nuclear in absolute terms. For example, in Slovakia, nuclear makes up 53.6% of the electricity mix—however, the country’s four reactors make up less than 1% of total global operating capacity.
 

On the flipside, the U.S. ranks 17th by share of nuclear power in its mix, despite producing 31% of global nuclear electricity in 2020. This discrepancy is largely due to size and population. European countries are much smaller and produce less electricity overall than larger countries like the U.S. and China.

The Future of Nuclear Power
The nuclear power landscape is constantly changing.
 

There were over 50 additional nuclear reactors under construction in 2020, and hundreds more are planned primarily in Asia.
 

As countries turn away from fossil fuels and embrace carbon-free energy sources, nuclear energy might see a resurgence in the global energy mix despite the phase-outs planned in several countries around he globe.

  

 

Click to see Uranium Futures => Uranium Futures - CME, or click here

 

Uranium/Nuclear focused ETFs:

Click to see Global X Uranium ETF (URA) => Uranium ETF

 

Other uranium related ETF style investment vehicles (focused on nuclear energy but are not limited to uranium mining and are not direct competition for URA): Market Vectors Nuclear Energy (NLR), and Barclays iShares Global Nuclear Energy (NUCL)

 

Although we often reference the spot price of uranium, the long-term price is what really counts as only a small fraction of the metal is actually traded on spot prices; over six times more uranium is traded in long-term market prices than in the spot market price. The long term market price is consistently and significantly higher than spot.

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Valuation Commentary:

 Update in progress

 

 

 

Uranium Company News:

 

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The following is an update from our uranium company trading analyst as of February 2021:

 

Our uranium plays have recently received a boost from a bullish report speculating that 12 US nuclear power plants' planned closures could be postponed beyond 2030.
 

Specifically, a Bank of America analyst estimated that a delay in plant closures could add 26 million pounds to 2021-2030 uranium demand, thanks to President Biden’s green-power initiatives.
 

That's just a 2% increase, but it matters, mainly because it would place increased pressure on utilities to move forward with new contracting.
 

Recall that the only reason uranium prices are not in the hundreds today is that utilities have been able to rely on the sale of existing uranium inventories to continue operating. But those stockpiles are disappearing fast. Utilities will need to start signing long-term contracts.
 

Interestingly, the report also notes that the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission is examining the possibility of extending nuclear power plant licenses to 100 years. This would allow all 94 US nuclear plants currently in operation to continue until at least 2069.
 

Though not a certainty, this theme plays right into our "when, not if" take on uranium. With uranium's price still hovering below $30 per pound, uranium producers continue to need higher prices. Everything I've seen recently tells me that it's just a matter of time before they get them.

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Increasing Global Nuclear Use
Despite a dip in total capacity and active reactors last year, nuclear power still generated around 10% of the world’s electricity in 2019.

 

 

Part of the increased capacity came as Japan restarted some plants and European countries looked to replace aging reactors. But most of the growth is driven by new reactors coming online in Asia and the Middle East.

China is soon to have more than 50 nuclear reactors, while India is set to become a top-ten producer once construction on new reactors is complete.

 

 

Decreasing Use in Western Europe and North America
The slight downtrend from 450 operating reactors in 2018 to 443 in 2019 was the result of continued shutdowns in Europe and North America. Home to the majority of the world’s reactors, the two continents also have the oldest reactors, with many being retired.

At the same time, European countries are leading the charge in reducing dependency on the energy source. Germany has pledged to close all nuclear plants by 2022, and Italy has already become the first country to completely shut down their plants.

Despite leading in shutdowns, Europe still emerges as the most nuclear-reliant region for a majority of electricity production and consumption.

 

 

In addition, some countries are starting to reassess nuclear energy as a means of fighting climate change. Reactors don’t produce greenhouse gases during operation, and are more efficient (and safer) than wind and solar per unit of electricity.

Facing steep emission reduction requirements, a variety of countries are looking to expand nuclear capacity or to begin planning for their first reactors.

 

Historical Values (in USD) - month end close price:

  • Mar 24 $88.50

  • Feb 24 $95.00

  • Jan 24 $100.00

  • Dec 23 $91.00

  • Nov 23 $81.00

  • Oct 23 $74.00

  • Sep 23 $70.00

  • Aug 23 $58.50

  • Jul 23 $56.25

  • Jun 23 $56.20

  • May 23 $54.60

  • Apr 23 $52.10

  • Mar 23 $50.50

  • Feb 23 $50.00

  • Jan 23 $50.50

  • Dec 22 $47.75

  • Nov 22 $50.00

  • Oct 22 $52.30

  • Sep 22 $48.50

  • Aug 22 $49.00

  • Jul 22 $46.75

  • Jun 22 $49.00

  • May 22 $47.00

  • Apr 22 $53.00

  • Mar 22 $58.20

  • Feb 22 $48.50

  • Jan 22 $43.00

  • Dec 21 $42.10

  • Nov 21 $46.00

  • Oct 21 $47.40

  • Sep 21 $43.00

  • Aug 21 $33.75

  • Jul 21 $32.30

  • Jun 21 $32.10

  • May 21 $31.40

  • Apr 21 $28.65

  • Mar 21 $30.65

  • Feb 21 $28.20

  • Jan 21 $29.50

  • Dec 20 $30.00

  • Nov 20 $29.45

  • Oct 20 $29.50

  • Sep 20 $29.75

  • Aug 20 $30.65

  • Jul 20 $32.20

  • Jun 20 $32.00

  • May 20 $34.00

  • Apr 20 $32.75

  • Mar 20 $27.40

  • Feb 20 $24.70

  • Jan 20 $24.35

  • Dec 19 $25.00

  • Nov 19 $26.00

  • Oct 19 $24.00

  • Sep 19 $25.65

  • Aug 19 $25.30

  • Jly 19 $25.50

  • Jun 19 $24.70

  • May 19 $25.00

  • Apr 19 $25.25

  • Mar 19 $25.75

  • Feb 19 $28.00

  • Jan 19 $28.90

  • Dec 18 $28.50

  • Nov 18 $29.10

  • Oct 18 $27.90

  • Sep 18 $27.35

  • Aug 18 $26.20

  • Jly 18 $25.70

  • Jun 18 $22.55

  • May 18 $22.75

  • Apr 18 $21.00

  • Mar 18 $21.10

  • Feb 18 $21.25

  • Jan 18 $22.00

  • Dec 17 $23.75

  • Nov 17 $22.00

  • Oct 17 $19.95

  • Sep 17 $20.25

  • Aug 17 $20.00

  • Jul 17 $20.15

  • Jun 17 $20.10

  • May 17 $21.50

  • Apr 17 $22.75

  • Mar 17 $24.50

  • Feb 17 $22.25

  • Jan 17 $24.50

  • Dec 16 $20.25

  • Nov 16 $18.25

  • Oct 16 $18.75

  • Sep 16 $23.75

  • Aug 16 $25.25

  • July 16 $26.25

  • June 16 $27.00

  • May 16 $27.25

  • Apr 16 $27.50

  • Mar 16 $29.15

  • Feb 16 $32.15

  • Jan 16 $34.75

  • Dec 15 $34.25

  • Nov 15 $36.00

  • Oct 15 $36.25

  • Sep 15 $37.00

  • Aug 15 $36.75

  • Jul 15 $36.00

  • Jun 15 $36.50

  • May 15 $35.00

  • Apr 15 $38.25

  • Mar 15 $39.50

  • Feb 15 $38.75

  • Jan 15 $37.15

  • Dec 14 $35.50

  • Nov 14 $40.00

  • Oct 14 $36.50

  • Sep 14 $35.50

  • Aug 14 $31.00

  • Jul 14 $28.50

  • Jun 14 $28.25

  • May 14 $28.25

  • Apr 14 $30.75

  • Mar 14 $34.00

  • Feb 14 $35.50

  • Jan 14 $35.50

  • Dec 13 $34.50

  • Nov 13 $36.35

  • Oct 13 $34.75

  • Sep 13 $35.00

  • Aug 13 $35.00

  • July 13 $34.50

  • June 13 $39.65

  • May 13 $40.50

  • Apr 13 $42.50

  • Mar 13 $42.25

  • Feb 13 $42.00

  • Jan 13 $44.00

  • Dec 12 $43.50

  • Nov 12 $42.00

  • Oct 12 $42.50

  • Sep 12 $46.50

  • Aug 12 $48.50

  • July 12 $49.25

  • June 12 $51.00

  • May 12 $52.00

  • Apr 12 $51.75

  • Mar 12 $51.00

  • Feb 12 $52.00

  • Jan 12 $52.00

  • Dec 11 $51.75

  • Nov 11 $51.75

  • Oct 11 $52.00

  • Sep 11 $52.50

  • Aug 11 $49.00

  • Jul 11 $51.75

  • Jun 11 $54.25

  • May 11 $57.50

  • Apr 11 $55.50

  • Mar 11 $62.50

  • Feb 11 $69.75

  • Jan 11 $72.00

  • Dec 10 $62.50

  • Nov 10 $61.00

  • Oct 10 $52.00

  • Sep 10 $46.50

  • Aug 10 $45.00

  • Jul 10 $43.50

  • Jun 10 $41.75

  • May 10 $40.75

  • Apr 10 $41.75

  • Mar 10 $42.00

  • Feb 10 $41.75

  • Jan 10 $42.50

  • Dec 09 $45.00

  • Nov 09 $45.50

  • Oct 09 $49.50

  • Sep 09 $42.50

  • Aug 09 $47.00

  • Jul 09 $47.00

  • Jun 09 $52.00

  • May 09 $50.00

  • Apr 09 $42.00

  • Mar 09 $42.00

  • Feb 09 $45.00

  • Jan 09 $50.00

  • Dec 08 $53.00

  • Nov 08 $55.00

  • Oct 08 $45.00

  • Sep 08 $55.55

  • Aug 08 $64.50

  • July 08 $64.50

  • June 08 $59.00

  • May 08 $60.00

  • Apr 08 $65.00

  • Mar 08 $71.00

  • Feb 08 $73.00

  • Jan 08 $78.00

  • Dec 07 $90.00

  • Nov 07 $93.00

  • Oct 07 $84.00

  • Sep 07 $85.00

  • Aug 07 $90.00

  • Jul 07 $120.00

  • Jun 07 $138.00

  • May 07 $133.00

  • Apr 07 $113.00

  • Mar 07 $95.00

  • Feb 07 $85.00

  • Jan 07 $75.00

  • Dec 06 $72.00

  • Nov 06 $63.00

  • Oct 06 $60.00

  • Sep 06 $54.00

  • Aug 06 $48.50

  • Jul 06 $47.25

  • Jun 06 $45.50

  • May 06 $43.00

  • Apr 06 $41.50

  • Mar 06 $40.50

  • Feb 06 $38.25

  • Jan 06 $37.50

  • Dec 05 $36.25

  • Nov 05 $34.50

  • Oct 05 $33.00

  • Sep 05 $31.00

  • Aug 05 $30.20

  • July 05 $29.50

  • Jun 05 $29.00

  • May 05 $29.00

  • Apr 05 $24.00

  • Mar 05 $22.50

  • Feb 05 $21.80

  • Jan. 05 $21.00

  • Dec. 04 $20.70

  • Nov. 04 $20.50

  • Oct. 04 $19.90

  • Aug. 04 $19.25

  • Jan 04 $15.50

  • Jan 03 $10.30

  • Jan 02 $9.60

* Considerations in determining spot price of Uranium: Data from recently completed transactions, data from pending transactions, firm bids to buy or borrow, firm offers to sell or lend, prices purchasers have expressed a willingness to pay but for which we are not aware of firm bids to buy, and prices sellers have expressed a willingness to accept but for which we are not aware of firm offers to sell. (Considerations not used in determining spot price: prices associated with deliveries under old or renegotiated contracts, or other than arm's-length transactions, charges for transportation other than that customarily provided by suppliers, and  prices of services or materials delivered under long-term contracts with primary suppliers).

 

 

 

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