In the past 30 years, the percentage of electricity generated by nuclear power plants in North America has grown from 4.5% to over 20%, a fact gone unnoticed by many as it is largely due to efficiency improvements in existing plants instead of new plants being constructed. Combined with rising worldwide nuclear power plant generation (presently contributing 16% of global energy), total annual demand for Uranium has risen from 20 million pounds in 1970 to over 150 million pounds at present.
Nuclear energy (and Uranium as fuel) is rapidly gaining ground as an alternate base load source of electricity as the effects of fossil fuel burning and its contribution to global warming is being recognised. This trend is set to be reinforced as nuclear power presents itself as the leading alternative to fuels producing greenhouse gases.
Re-licensing of existing nuclear power plants, new plants being built and a lack of new mine supply coming into the market has kept the uranium price buoyant and bodes well for a steady increase to ensure ongoing exploration and sustainable mine development occurs.
Uranium is likely to be the energy source of choice for many installations in coming years because it best fits with the key criteria, being cost-effective, concentrated, relatively environmentally clean, and safe in routine operation. There are presently 440 nuclear power reactors in operation in 31 countries, with numerous new plants either being planned, being built or already licensed. As other sources of fuel become scarce or more expensive due to environmental controls, Uranium is likely to increase its market share.
As at 21 November 2012:
Spot - $US41.50/pound