Thursday, August 25, 2011

U.S. reliance on foreign uranium

"We [the U.S.] rely on imports for about 70% of our oil but foreign countries supply 95% of our uranium. And some of those suppliers are no more stable than certain OPEC members," according to Amir Adnani, CEO of Corpus Christi, Texas-based Uranium Energy Corporation (UEC) in an interview posted on "American power plants consume about 55 million pounds of the metal every year to generate 20% of America's electricity, yet the US produces only 3.5 million pounds, and US production has been falling." [right, uranium ore. Credit, USGS]

But the article concludes that the short term outlook for uranium demand and prices is "clouded" because supplies from decommissioning nuclear warheads will continue into 2013. However, if most of the nuclear power plants proposed around the world continue, and proposed uranium mines are delayed or cancelled, there could be a uranium shortage.

This relevant to Arizona because mining opponents argue that plentiful alternate sources of uranium exist to the deposits in northern Arizona, so the land can and should be withdrawn from exploration and development. Mining advocates argue that Arizona's deposits are some of the richest and most extensive in the nation.

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