There will likely be a further recovery of uranium prices in 2023 as nuclear energy regains popularity, was the sentiment among uranium specialists who spoke on Monday at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference (VRIC).
With several of the world’s most developed countries announcing plans to extend the life of their existing nuclear power plants and some expanding their fleets, there was an optimistic buzz at VRIC.
Amid the energy crisis accelerated by the Russian-Ukraine war, countries like Japan, France, South Korea, India, the UK, the US, and Germany recently announced new constructions and additional incentives and funding for nuclear power.
“I think the principal factor is the change of public opinion in Japan. With regards to the pace of Japanese restarts, the biggest source of new demand that you could have on the planet is from their 40 existing reactors,” said Rick Rule, CEO of Sprott US Holdings.
“They don’t have to be built, they just have to be restarted. That would raise the structural demand for uranium by between 10 and 12 million pounds a year.”
According to Goviex Uranium CEO Daniel Major, demand is set to increase while supply remains tight.
“At the end of the day, we consume about 190 million pounds a year. Currently, we dig out of the ground about 130 million pounds,” said Major.
Spot uranium started the year rising from $48.66 to over $50/lb in a two-week period.
For Rick Rule, some greenfield supply could come from Kazakhstan, but with a new incentive price close to $70 a pound.
According to the veteran investor, the outlook is also very bullish over the next ten years.
“There’s a billion people on Earth that have no access to electricity at all. There are 2 billion people on Earth who experience energy poverty, either intermittent energy or unaffordable energy,” said Rule.
“When we talk about energy in the West, we talk about stuff like Teslas,” he pointed out. “Increasing the living standards of the poorest of the poor means that we’re gonna need more energy from all sources. Solar, sure. Wind, yeah. Coal, of course. But nuclear is a wonderful source of post-construction, cheap, reliable, non-carbon generating baseload power.”
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