Thursday, 9 December 2010

Uranium Price surges as Beijing goes nuclear

How cheap will it be to run nuclear plants as China and India begin a huge expansion of nuclear new build?

We are already seeing a huge rise in the price of uranium, before they even begin their building programme. But as "good" sources of uranium (i.e. 0.1%) run out and mining companies are forced to mine rock with a far lower yield, costs will spiral.

Mark Robinson in Investors Chronicle said on the 8th Dec
"Spot prices for uranium have recently bubbled up to around the $67 (£42.38) mark following confirmation that China's plans for its nuclear industry are far more ambitious than previously thought. At the recent International Nuclear Symposium held in Beijing, Chinese authorities announced that the People's Republic intended to construct up to 245 reactors over the next 20 years , at a projected cost of $511bn (£323bn).
China's ambitious urbanisation programme, coupled with unrelenting industrial demand, have placed great strain on its existing power infrastructure. Currently it is reliant on coal-fired power stations for 65 per cent of its energy needs, but as demand steadily rises, the country is facing the prospect of perpetual energy deficits unless alternate sources are brought on stream.  
By 2020, it is estimated that China will require at least 35 per cent of the world’s current output of uranium ore, and that’s before the majority of the new reactors come on stream. Other countries, such as India, are also determined to expand nuclear capacity.
The recent hike in the spot price for uranium means it has now risen around 45 per cent since the start of this year. And come 2013, the supply of 'above-ground' uranium that has come from the gradual decommissioning of a vast arsenal of Sovier-era missiles will cease. That could throw the underlying supply-demand picture into sharp relief and have significant implications for the spot price."

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