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Despite efforts to wean themselves off of Russian energy imports, western nations’ purchases of uranium products still rely heavily on Russia’s state-owned Rosatom. Dozens of nuclear power plants in the US and Europe derive equipment and fuels supplies from Rosatom, but rising uranium prices could bolster beleaguered North American firms in the industry and shift that balance over time. 

Uncertainties still abound in Africa, one of Europe’s primary alternatives to Russia for uranium imports, which could continue pushing prices higher. Niger’s new military junta continues to become increasingly hostile toward French interests in the country. France derives 75% of its electricity from nuclear generation, and a large share of the uranium fueling its reactors is sourced from French-owned mines within Niger.

Related ETFs: Sprott Uranium Miners ETF (URNM), Global X Uranium ETF (URA)

For all the Russian products that have essentially been cut off from western economies throughout the past year and a half, following Russia’s formal invasion of Ukraine, enriched uranium sold by state-owned nuclear giant, Rosatom, has been mostly untouched in its overseas shipment. Rosatom could be considered directly complicit in Russia’s war effort, as it has taken charge of operations at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) since the power station was occupied by Russian forces in March 2022. The ZNPP, located in southern Ukraine, is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

While the European Union has enacted bans on Russian crude oil shipments (with exemptions for some countries in Eastern Europe), along with similar restrictions on the import of coal and refined oil products, Bloomberg notes that Russia fulfills about 30% of the EU’s demand for enriched uranium, on a separative work units (SWU) basis. The US has implemented its own bans on those same products but relied on Russian supplies for 24% of the enriched Uranium demand 2022. There are 18 nuclear power plants in the EU which use Russian designs and rely on…

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