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Uranium Week: Russian Bans Move Closer

Weekly Reports | Mar 14 2023

Bills introduced to US Congress suggest the banning of uranium imports from Russia is creeping ever closer.

-U3O8 spot market thin
-Term market nervous
-Bipartisan legislation introduced in the US Senate

By Greg Peel

The spot uranium market exhibited intermittent volatility last week, industry consultant TradeTech reports. The limited liquidity that has marked recent spot supply was evident as buyers entering the market early in the week were forced to pay higher prices, with the spot price rising US90c to US$51.40/lb by Tuesday.

Once demand was satisfied, buying dried up, and sellers began offering lower prices. The net result was a US25c increase in TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator to US$50.75/lb.

In the term uranium market, uncertainty remains around geopolitical and jurisdictional risks as the US and other countries take action to institute additional sanctions against Russia. Utilities are moving forward to hedge against any potential disruption in nuclear fuel supplies from Russia.

To that end, new legislation was introduced to the US Senate last week.

Moving Closer

Last week US Republican Senator John Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, delivered opening remarks at a full committee hearing to examine the nuclear fuel cycle. Barrasso noted “Nuclear power is our nation’s largest source of carbon-free electricity. It is also the most reliable operating over 90 percent of the time. Nuclear energy is fundamental to meeting our energy, environmental, and national security objectives. It is also critical to global security."

Barrasso and six other senators then introduced bipartisan legislation that would ban imports of Russian uranium. “America’s nuclear industry is ready to transition away from Russian uranium,” said Barasso. “The first step is permanently removing all Russian energy, including uranium, from the American marketplace. By banning Russian uranium imports we can further defund Russia’s war machine, help revive American uranium production, and increase our national security”.

The Senate bill is the companion to a bill introduced last month in the House by Republican chair of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Republican chair of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology.

It also follows the introduction of the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, which aims to direct the US Secretary of Energy to establish a nuclear fuel program with the purpose of "onshoring nuclear fuel production to ensure a disruption in Russian uranium supply would not impact the development of advanced reactors or the operation of the USA’s light-water reactor fleet."

All three bills are under consideration in Congress, but it is clear the intent is only headed in one direction. The term uranium market still awaits some element of certainly with regard requirements to shore up supply from non-Russian sources if ongoing Russian supply contracts, settled before the war, are suddenly halted.

TradeTech’s term market indicators remain at US$51.50/lb (mid) and US$53.00/lb (long).

Uranium companies listed on the ASX:

AGE 13/03/2023 0.0350 – 2.70% $0.12 $0.03
BKY 13/03/2023 0.3750 1.33% $0.64 $0.25
BMN 13/03/2023 1.6000 -16.03% $2.49 $0.15
BOE 13/03/2023 2.3100 – 5.76% $3.10 $1.61 $3.200 38.5%
DYL 13/03/2023 0.6000 – 9.92% $1.25 $0.55
ERA 13/03/2023 0.2000 – 2.44% $0.42 $0.16
LOT 13/03/2023 0.2000 – 4.76% $0.46 $0.18
NXG 13/03/2023 5.8900 – 9.59% $8.99 $0.00
PDN 13/03/2023 0.6600 – 3.62% $0.97 $0.53 -65.0 $1.000 51.5%
PEN 13/03/2023 0.1350 0.00% $0.28 $0.12
SLX 13/03/2023 3.8100 5.98% $5.32 $1.18

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