Analyst: Uranium prices might not reflect expected surge in demand

Uranium ore
Uranium ore | Courtesy of Shutterstock

Since the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Paris in December, during which 195 countries adopted the Paris climate agreement, the focus is shifting to the nuclear industry and uranium prices.

With nuclear plant construction on the rise for the next 20 to 30 years, mainly in Asian countries, uranium demand is expected to exceed other energy sources, analysts said.

In 2014, roughly 11 percent of the world’s electricity was generated by nuclear power, but that number is expected to increase significantly.

Approximately 437 nuclear power reactors currently are operating in 31 countries, plus Taiwan, the World Nuclear Association said. Additionally, more than 60 reactors are under construction in 15 countries.

China aims to boost its renewable-energy capacity 15 percent by 2020 and reduce its pollution from coal-fired power plants. With 29 operational reactors and more than 20 new ones under construction, China is hoping to double its nuclear capacity in four years.

In the U.S., five reactors are under construction, with plans to build five more. Some of the new reactors are expected to be operational by 2020.

Tom Zoellner, author of Uranium and a Chapman University associate professor, told Power News Wire he is not as easily convinced that uranium prices will rise in tandem with demand.

“Even though steady demand from the world's 435 active reactors is as predictable as the phases of the moon, there isn't a pure dynamic between supply and demand because of the peculiar geopolitics of uranium,” Zoellner said.

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World Nuclear Association

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