Uranium Prices: US Nuclear Sector Needs a Lifeline

Uranium prices should be finding support on big plans for overseas nuclear power expansion, but instead, prices have collapsed as sentiment over the sector turned sour in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Market participants have been waiting for months for prices to climb – and while they started this year off on a good foot, lately the price momentum has been lackluster. And, the one thing the sector had going for it – robust future demand expectations, is starting to look shaky with the US nuclear power sector’s future in jeopardy.

While emerging economies are rapidly building nuclear plants, in the developed world nuclear power expansion plans remain stalled. Regulations and the availability of alternate sources of power make places like Germany, the U.S., Canada, and the UK take a more critical look at new nuclear power builds.

Nuclear power creates about 20% of America’s electricity, and right now it looks like its use will shrink. Domestic nuclear power expansion is struggling, and President Trump’s first federal budget calls for a reduction in nuclear power research spending and elimination of the loan guarantees.

But, it appears that the country’s shrinking nuclear sector is generating some alarm. A report from the Energy Futures Initiative, obtained by Bloomberg calls for greater support for nuclear power based on the premise that a strong commercial nuclear power sector is needed to ensure the safety of material that has enormous potential for harm if it fell into the wrong hands. report’s primary author is Moniz, who is a credentialed nuclear scientist.

The report, whose primary author is former Energy Department Secretary Ernest Moniz, calls for an expansion of the Department of Energy’s loan guarantee program for nuclear power companies and tax credits for new power plants. It also calls for more funding for nuclear technology research. The report cautions that Federal defense, which relies on nuclear power, would be put at risk if more of the supply chain were to collapse.

Leia Toovey has a B.Sc. in geology from Simon Fraser University, and her degree had a focus on resource economics. Out of school, she started working in the booming mining industry of Vancouver, Canada, covering junior mining stocks and commodities including potash, copper, nickel, oil and gold. Then she moved to New York and worked as a commodities analyst covering a breadth of commodities, from the Baltic Dry Index through the softs. As a geologist she has a greater understanding of the exploration and extraction side of commodities, and how changes in technology and the depletion of resources impact pricing. At Economic Calendar she covers a variety of commodities, providing daily technical and fundamental analysis and assessing major market developments.