The Manhattan Project to Wean the US Off Russian Uranium
Comment of the Day

August 23 2023

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

The Manhattan Project to Wean the US Off Russian Uranium

This article from Bloomberg may be of interest. Here is a section:

In 2021, Urenco had no plans to expand in the US. But standing in a vast storeroom in Eunice crammed with ready-to-ship canisters, each filled with more than 2 tons of enriched uranium and worth $1 million, Keith Armstrong, the company’s chief of staff, said orders have increased almost 25% in the past year as the world tries to avoid Rosatom. 

Armstrong, who has worked at Urenco for 11 years, said Moscow’s militarism had jolted the industry and exposed gaping vulnerabilities. “The invasion of Ukraine changed the market dramatically,” he said. “It went from a static state to ‘we need to expand now.’”

Eoin Treacy's view

There has been a great deal of speculation about Russia’s potential to enforce an embargo on oil and gas exports. That ignores the country’s clear need to earn foreign income as well as the difficulty in capping supply from oil wells drilled into permafrost. It is much more likely Russia could use its dominant position as a nuclear fuel provider to squeeze the US and European economies.

The coincidence of a coup in Niger and Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death in a plane crash today suggests Russia’s unconventional war strategies are on full display. 
That has led to both additional interest in boosting investment in alternative fuel cycles as well as developing generation IV reactors. Several of the new designs, molten salt for example, required much higher concentration of uranium in the fuel. Light water reactors use less than 5% and HALEU (high assay low enriched uranium) can deliver anything from 5-20%. The kinds of reactors in nuclear powered aircraft carriers or submarines run on much higher concentrations.

Centrus continues to extend its rebound and is now testing the upper side of the first step above the base formation.
Energy Fuels Canada has a similar pattern.
Cameco continues to accelerate higher. It is quite overextended relative to the trend mean but a clear downward dynamic will be required to check momentum beyond a pause. 

Back to top

You need to be logged in to comment.

New members registration