Monday, June 23, 2008

Uranium prices predicted to rise 58%

Financial analysts in a story on predict uranium prices will jump 58% from $57 to $90 per pound, as a result of large numbers of new nuclear power plants in India, China, and likely elsewhere. The construction program is compared to the one prompted by the oil crisis of the 1970s. Demand for uranium is expected to grow as fast as the demand for oil.

[right: breccia pipe uranium typical of northern Arizona; credit USGS]

The world needs to build 32 new nuclear plants each year as part of measures to cut emissions in half by 2050, the Paris- based International Energy Agency says.

Uranium prices dropped 57% in the past year but mining companies, including some in Arizona, continued exploration programs, in the recognition that long term demands would outpace production.

In 2006, 39,429 metric tons of uranium were mined, while demand last year hit 66,500 tons, and is expected to reach 102,000 tons by 2020. Uranium exports from Russian inventories and decommissioned warheads to the U.S. will cease in 2013.

Sen. John McCain is reported to have called for almost doubling the number of nuclear reactors to lessen the nation's dependence on foreign oil. Sen. Barack Obama is describe as also backing nuclear power.

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