“Let’s all build a whole lot of nuclear plants,” we are constantly being told, “so that when we run out of oil, we’ll still have electricity made from nuclear power!”  But apparently there’s just one major thing wrong with that fantasy scenario (aside, of course, from the fact that nuclear reactors keep on generating deadly nuclear waste). Energy experts warn that an acute shortage of uranium is going to hit the nuclear energy industry. The proven reserves of uranium will last less than 30 years. Current nuclear plants consume around 67,000 tons of high-grade uranium per year. With present uranium deposits in the planet having been estimated at 4-5 million tons, this means the present resources would last 42 years. By 2050, all proven and undiscovered reserves of uranium will be over. The most worrying problem is the misconception that uranium is plentiful. The world’s nuclear plants today eat through some 65,000 tons of uranium each year. Of this, the mining industry supplies about 40,000 tons. The rest comes from secondary sources such as civilian and military stockpiles, reprocessed fuel and re-enriched uranium.  Without access to the military stocks, the civilian western uranium stocks will be exhausted within the next three years. The future doesn’t look any brighter for nuclear fission.
Because new uranium supplies are needed and needed soon, the price of uranium will need to be in a steady uptrend over the next few years. It’s a suppliers’ market, and the miners know this; already companies like Uranium Energy Corporation are holding on to their supply rather than selling it, waiting for price to rally before doing so. Higher prices are needed to draw more mining companies into the business.