New Reactors Fueling Uranium Demand
The primary commercial use for uranium is to fuel nuclear reactors for the generation of electricity. There are 436 reactors operating worldwide, and a total of 521 new reactors that are under construction, planned, or proposed for completion within the next 10 years. With increased demand for electricity and a movement towards clean energy generation, the number of proposed and planned nuclear reactors has seen a two-fold increase over the last 4 years.
New Reactors by Country
With the emerging economies and resulting energy requirements of China, Russia, and India, it is not surprising that these three countries account for 274 (or 53%) of the 521 new reactors that are under construction, planned, or proposed.
Uranium Supply vs. Demand
In 2008 mines supplied 43,760 tonnes of uranium satisfying 68% of utilities' annual requirements. The balance of supply for utilities is currently made up of secondary sources including stockpiled uranium, but those civil stockpiles are now largely depleted. As illustrated by the chart below, there is a large anticipated gap between primary uranium production and the growing demands of the nuclear energy industry.