Uranium prices are reaching levels unseen in 15 years as decisions on new nuclear plants in Europe, as well as the extension of numerous existing reactor lifespans, are likely to revamp the outlook for the yellow metal. The vast majority of Europe’s nuclear power plants are more than three decades old, but refurbishing of these facilities could make them run for as many as 80 to 100 years with proper investment. France and Switzerland are two nations keen on maintaining their nuclear capacity for decades ahead. More specifically, France is preparing to issue decisions on the construction of as many as 14 new reactors through the end of 2026.
Related ETF: Sprott Uranium Miners ETF (URNM)
Uranium prices shot to a 15-year high above $80.00/lb last week. The metal that fuels zero-carbon nuclear power generation continues to enjoy a strong 2023 on the back of continually positive shifts back toward nuclear energy capacity in the western world, compounded by continual tightness on the supply side. That tightness was spurred on by years of miners cutting back mine production from the late 2010s into the 2020s.
Recent data from the World Nuclear Association (WNA), initially highlighted by MRP in September, indicated that demand for uranium in nuclear reactors is expected to climb by 28% through 2030 and nearly double by 2040. The WNA notes that capacity will grow not only through the establishment of new reactors, the bulk of which are planned in China and India, but by extending the operating lifetimes of existing plants. Nuclear power plants usually target operating lifetimes of up to 60 years, but Rafael Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has suggested refurbishing operations could soon expand plant lifetimes to 100 years. The US’s Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has already issued approvals of the first licenses for American reactors to operate for 80 years.
MRP has highlighted Europe as a key battleground for the resurrection of nuclear power, as the nations of that continent have enacted some of the world’s most aggressive policies to combat climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In 2022, the European Commission’s “taxonomy” on…
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