Analysis

Growth of Nuclear Energy to Drive Up Price of Uranium
The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in southern India was completed last year. Construction on the plant began in 2001.
March 29, 2013
| Economics, Energy
| Asia and the Pacific
Summary
Special Economic Analysis
By Peter Warburton, PhD

The Fukushima disaster two years ago was the latest in a series of setbacks for the nuclear energy sector, and concerns over the safety of nuclear power plants are now on the front burner. But nuclear energy is not, as one might assume, on the wane. In fact, there has been relentless growth in the demand for uranium as China, India and Russia press ahead with their nuclear energy ambitions and Japan looks to restart its reactors next year.
Around the world, 435 nuclear reactors are in operation and another 65 are under construction. Over the next 30 years, China is expected to add more than 150 gigawatts of nuclear capacity, which is half the U.S. capacity. As depleted uranium from Russia, a relic of nuclear disarmament, plays a diminishing role in market supply, the emphasis will turn to mining activities and costs of uranium discovery and extraction. Given the very long lead times involved, there is a strong likelihood that the price of uranium over the next 2-3 years will climb much higher than today.
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