Uranium prices are poised to soar this year amid a resurgence in nuclear energy among major economies such as the United States. Nuclear energy has been losing popularity among developed nations for quite a while now, with countries such as Germany and Spain planning to phase out a majority of their nuclear power plants by 2030. Furthermore, nations such as Australia, Denmark, Italy and Norway had no nuclear power plants or did not support nuclear energy as of 2016.
However, the energy crunch of 2021 and 2022 has prompted most developed nations to rethink their nuclear phase-out plans. Severe supply chain disruptions coupled with soaring energy prices have renewed many nations’ interest in nuclear energy for power generation. Some nations are working to extend the lives of existing nuclear-fired power plants while others are investing in new nuclear power plants.
As of February 2023, there were around 60 new nuclear reactors under construction in 15 countries. The United States has actually invested billions of dollars into extending the life of nuclear power plants beyond their predetermined shutdown dates.
This renewed interest in nuclear power generation is sure to have a major impact on uranium prices over the next few years. Now that several nations, including France, Japan, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and India have new nuclear power projects underway amid increased funding for nuclear energy, demand for uranium is poised to explode.
According to Sprott U.S. Holdings CEO Rick Rule Japan will be the most significant source of new uranium demand as it already has more than 40 existing nuclear reactors. Japan shut down most of its nuclear plants after the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster of 2011. Now the country is turning back to nuclear power amid fuel shortages, pressure to reduce emissions and increasing prices.
Rule estimates that once Japan restarts its 40 operational reactors, demand for uranium could rise by a whopping 10 or more million pounds per year. Goviex Uranium CEO Daniel Major states that this rise in demand will not be accompanied by a complementary increase in uranium supply. In fact, he noted that the current demand for the metal already exceeds supply as mining companies mine around 130 million pounds of uranium annually, but we use 190 million pounds per annum.
Rule added that the uranium market could have a bullish outlook over the next decade, as nuclear energy may play a major role in ensuring equitable and affordable access to electricity for all. As that bullish market takes firm shape, domestic nuclear extractors such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are likely to see a huge uptick in investor interest.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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