A nuclear fuel report that was launched earlier last month at the World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium highlights that the generation capacity of nuclear energy is predicted to increase by almost 3% annually, reaching roughly 610 GWe in the next two decades. By 2030, nuclear capacity is anticipated to have reached 439 GWe. At the moment, global nuclear capacity is about 395 GWe.
This report was written by Exelon Generation’s James Nevling and Tenex’s Alexander Boytsov, with input provided by more than 80 experts from the international nuclear industry. It relies on publicly available data gathered from organizations that actively participate in the fuel cycle of nuclear energy to generate forecasts for uranium production and nuclear capacity. The scenarios included in the report — lower, upper and designated reference — cover a range of possible scenarios for nuclear energy for the next two decades.
The model used to produce projections for nuclear fuel requirements by the World Nuclear Association has been extensively amended for this report, with a re-evaluation of factors that impact the demand for nuclear fuel such as fuel burn-ups and enrichment levels as well as thermal efficiency parameters.
While smaller modular reactors haven’t been included in the model quantitatively, they have been considered from a qualitative perspective. This is with the exception of Russia’s KLT-405 reactors, which are operating on Akademic Lomonosov.
In his presentation, Nevling stated that he expects that by the beginning of 2023, the small modular reactor market is likely to have matured enough to facilitate a shift to a quantitative treatment from a qualitative treatment.
Currently, nuclear power generates roughly 10% of global electricity. Nuclear is likely to play a crucial role in the future because of its long-term cost competitiveness, its secure and reliable nature, its availability on demand and its near-zero emission levels of CO2 and other pollutants. Additionally, nuclear power’s ability to generate almost zero-carbon-derived heat could be used to decarbonize some sections of the global economy.
The report also looked at the global reactor requirements for uranium, noting that the production volume for uranium at existing mines was forecasted to remain stable till the late 2020s, after which the volume would reduce by almost one-half between 2030 and 2040.
In addition to this, the report considered the demand and supply in the fuel fabrication, enrichment and conversion sectors. In the short term, uranium hexafluoride will be met by commercial inventories while in the long term, more conversion capacity will be required.
Despite facing competition from other sources of electricity, particularly within deregulated markets, the nuclear segment is still viable in the majority of developing countries. Given this favorable outlook, investors may want to take a closer look at uranium extraction companies such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR).
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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