By the 2020s, when all the new nuclear plants are online, consumption will rise to more than 220 million pounds.
Yet there’s a problem … the world’s existing uranium mines only produce 145 million pounds a year. That leaves the industry with a large gap to fill.
Compounding the problem is the fact that the industry has to rely on secondary supplies to fill that gap, yet a key source of secondary supply — an agreement between the U.S. and Russia to turn Russian nuclear-bomb uranium into peaceful uranium — ended late last year, and that will remove 24 million pounds of annual supply.
Worse … low uranium prices have lead miners to mothball projects and put expansion plans on hold all over the
world. Across the industry, miners and analysts all note that uranium prices must reach $70 a pound before new mines can open.
But because of impacts Fukushima had on the market, uranium prices that once exceeded $70 are today bouncing
around the mid-$30s.