Safe, Clean, Economical and Reliable Energy

Source: World Energy Outlook IEA 2012

The only commercial use for uranium products and services is to provide fuel for nuclear power plants that generate electricity.

Energy Demand

The nuclear power industry is driven by demand for energy, which continues to grow as a result of continued increases in world population and industrial development. The 2012 World Energy Outlook predicts that by 2035 electricity consumption will have grown by about 70% from current levels. Most of this energy will be used by developing (non-OECD) countries as their populations and standards of living increase.

The challenge many nations’ utility companies face in meeting future demand is how to economically increase baseload electricity outputs in ways that minimize environmental impacts. Reducing CO2 emissions through low-carbon sources of electricity is widely considered to be essential in combating global warming.

Nuclear power provides safe, clean, reliable, and affordable baseload electricity and is an important part of the world’s energy mix.

Uranium products and services

Before uranium is ready for use as nuclear fuel in reactors, it must undergo a number of intermediate processing steps which are identified as the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle:

  1. Mining and milling to produce U3O8
  2. Refining and conversion to produce UO2 and UF6
  3. Enrichment to produce low-enriched uranium
  4. Fuel fabrication to produce fuel assemblies or bundles.

One of the unique aspects of the uranium marketplace is the way in which nuclear utilities buy their fuel. Typically, power utilities will contract separately with suppliers at each step of the process.

Detailed information on the individual fuel cycle markets can be found at:

One ton of natural uranium can produce more than 40 million kilowatt-hours of electricity. This is equivalent to burning 16,000 tons of coal or 80,000 barrels of oil.