Spot uranium prices continue to tick higher and are now up by $0.50 per lb. versus the prior week, as there is some good sentiment in the market due the new leadership in the US.
On his campaign trail, Trump promised to boost the US’s energy sector which would include expanding coal and nuclear power usage. This week, Trump issued executive orders just after being sworn in as US president that were in alignment with his campaign promises. While he has yet to move to directly boost the uranium sector, the fact that he is fast-tracking pipeline approval and requiring the use of domestically produced materials is causing some positive spillover into the uranium sector. Perhaps, soon we will hear more on his plans for US nuclear energy
While spot uranium has ticked higher this is not anything to get too excited about because the majority of the uranium market is based on longer-term contracts. Overall, these prices are still weak as the uranium market remains awash with supply with demand is still suffering in the aftermath of the Fukushima disaster. Longer-term, the outlook is much better with dozens of nuclear plants currently under construction and even more in the planning process.
In the US, when it comes to nuclear power, right now the trend has been closures rather than developments. Most of the US’s nuclear reactors were built in the 1960s and 1970s and their licenses are nearing expiration. The US has to decide whether to shut down these reactors or extend their lifespans by other 20-years. While a shutdown would dent uranium demand, with Donald Trump leading the country it is seen as likely that either new nuclear capacity will be built or these reactors’ lifespans will be extended by another 20-years. This would bode well for domestic uranium demand.