By some measures, merchant power assets look like a bargain, selling for well below their replacement cost. But whether low prices signal a buying opportunity or a value trap depends on the...
The Bullish Case For Uranium
Higher prices to come?
process the ore into usable nuclear fuel. Like oil refineries, higher prices force them to pay more for their inputs, but they can also charge more for the finished product. If the oil precedent holds, higher prices should mean more money for processors at the end of the day.
Interestingly, higher prices will have minimal impact on operators of nuclear power plants. The cost of fuel in a nuclear plant is almost a rounding error compared to the other costs—such as initial capital expenditures and ongoing O&M costs. Indeed, this insensitivity to fuel prices is one of the factors that makes nuclear power generation so attractive.
Finally, speculators and investors are often attracted to markets where prices are rising, and with the expected upward trend in uranium prices, their market participation can be expected to increase.
1. “Uranium,” The McGraw-Hill Science and Technology Encyclopedia (5th ed.), McGraw-Hill.
2. International Atomic Energy Agency, Uranium Production Cycle.
3. World Nuclear Association, Military Warheads as a Source of Nuclear Fuel , October 200.
4. European Nuclear Society, Nuclear Power Plants , World Wide, 2010.
5. World Nuclear Association, Supply of Uranium , Updated August 2010.
6. Andrew Mickey, “ Uranium Has Bottomed: Two Uranium Bulls to Jump on Now ,” Uraniumseek.com, August 22, 2008.
7. International Atomic Energy Agency, Uranium Production Cycle.
8. Adam Schatzker, RBC Capital Markets, “Metal Prospects,” Uranium Market Outlook—Third Quarter 2010 , p.1.
9. World Nuclear Association, China’s Nuclear Fuel Cycle , Updated 1 September 2010.
10. World Nuclear Association, Nuclear Power in India , Updated 6 September 2010.
11. US Energy Information Administration, Nuclear Power and the Environment , 2010.
12. US Nuclear Regulatoy Commission, “ Power Uprates for Nuclear Plants .” February 16, 2010.