Shortfall In Uranium Increases As Demand Grows

A thread on X by retired Earth sciences researcher John Quakes delved on the latest report by World Nuclear Association (WNA) released this month. Key findings indicate a surge in uranium demand, raising concerns amidst production setbacks and geopolitical tensions.

According to the data, there are 436 operable reactors worldwide, with 62 under construction, 118 ordered/planned, and 323 proposed, highlighting sustained growth in the nuclear sector.

The WNA has revised its uranium fuel consumption estimate for 2024 to 67,517 metric tonnes of uranium (176 million pounds U3O8), reflecting a notable increase of +4.9 million pounds compared to previous projections.

“A +4.852M lbs increase this year which immediately deepens the 2024 supply deficit… for those who mistakenly use only the WNA requirements data for their U demand estimate… a rookie mistake,” Quakes said.

The WNA reports a substantial rise in uranium requirements from 2022 to 2024, with an annual increase of +13 million pounds. Various factors contribute to heightened uranium demand, including the construction of new reactors, extensions of reactor lifespans, inventory replenishment, diversification away from Russian supply, and increased financial investments in uranium assets.

The total uranium demand for 2024 is estimated to surpass 200 million pounds U3O8, highlighting the magnitude of the challenge faced by the uranium industry.

Due to this anticipated increase in demand, operators of 20 new reactors scheduled to commence operations in 2027/2028 are urged to procure mined uranium promptly for fuel fabrication.

Production setbacks loom large as major uranium producers, including Kazatomprom, Cameco, and Orano, fell short of their production targets in 2023. Kazatomprom has further slashed its 2024 production outlook by nearly 10 million pounds, exacerbating supply concerns.

Geopolitical tensions have prompted Western nuclear fuel buyers to shift away from Russian supply, creating a division between East and West in the uranium market. This trend exacerbates the supply shortage in the Western market, where world prices are set.

Uranium prices have held steady at $101.00 per pound, fueled by ongoing concerns surrounding supply dynamics.

Information for this story was found via the sources mentioned within the article. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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