Uranium market to pick up as reactors come back

Australia-based Foster Stockbroking said Tuesday that an industry-wide restart would boost global uranium demand by 30 million pounds a year, or 17%, which could act as a catalyst to flagging uranium prices.

In an investor report, Foster analysts said the recovery would be driven by the rising demand from Japan and China.

According to the analysts the trend is already making uranium suppliers struggle to keep up with a demand that is set to rise.

"Ultimately, given the imminent supply gap, its low-carbon emission profile and its ability to produce low-cost power, we believe that nuclear power generation will continue to play a key role in future global power supply," they said.

Japan's Saturday decision to restart nuclear reactors "should provide a catalyst for uranium price and equities," the report said, adding, "we anticipate that this is the first step in bringing the remaining idle fleet of 54 reactors back on line and importantly signals that nuclear power generation will continue to be an integral part of Japan’s long-term energy mix."

Foster Stockbroking noted China had removed a ban on new nuclear power plants and was set to build more reactors than any other country.

The Perth-based company chose Paladin Resources and Black Range Minerals as the two emerging uranium miners that may best capitalize on the rising demand.

According to the World Nuclear Association, global consumption of uranium last year was about 69,000 tonnes, of which about 80% came directly from mines. The rest was supplied by secondary sources such as commercial stockpiles and decommissioned nuclear weapons.