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The looming uranium shortage

Projected global uranium fuel requirements
Data: Wood Mackenzie; Chart: Rahul Mukherjee/Axios

We've written before about investors racing to lock down supplies of nuclear fuel. The chart above helps put in perspective just how urgent the situation really is.

Why it matters: The energy transition won't happen without plenty of new uranium mining.

What's happening: Countries are racing to build new large reactors and small modular reactors (SMRs) to meet surging electricity demand.

Plus: Russia is among the world's largest sources of uranium. Its invasion of Ukraine and the resulting international sanctions have cut off much of that supply.

  • Other large producers: Kazakhstan, Australia, Namibia, Canada, Uzbekistan and Niger.

Meanwhile, U.S. uranium mining plummeted through 2022, though it's expected to rebound as investors put money into restoring domestic production.

  • Keep an eye on so-called HALEU, a type of fuel required by many advanced reactor designs.

What they're saying: "Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will put additional focus on the fuel cycle," Wood Mackenzie noted in a report this spring.

  • "Europe and the other markets that rely on Russian uranium will seek to maximise the use of spent nuclear fuel and procure new uranium supply at the lowest possible cost."
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