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Uranium Week: Russian Ban Still Hanging

Weekly Reports | Dec 19 2023

The US House passed a bill banning Russian uranium imports last week but the Senate has knocked it back so far.

-House passes uranium industry support and Russian import ban bills
-One Senator is holding out
-Spot uranium price jumps yet again
-COP developments suggest further upside

By Greg Peel

Industry consultant TradeTech reports both chambers of the US Congress voted in favour of the Final Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act last week, which includes appropriations and policies for the Department of Energy's national security program. The US$886 billion legislative package now goes to US President Joe Biden who is expected to sign the measure into law.

The final NDAA includes a provision for the Nuclear Fuel Security Act, which directs DoE to prioritise activities to increase domestic production of low-enriched uranium (LEU) for existing reactors and accelerate efforts to ensure the availability of high-assay, low-enriched uranium (HALEU) for advanced reactors.

On December 11, the US House passed legislation that would ban the import of Russian uranium. The bill, which includes a provision for waivers, would make it illegal to import LEU 90 days after the bill becomes law. The bill was ultimately blocked by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. The Senate was scheduled to reconsider a bill last night.

At the time of writing this morning, there’s been no news on that front.

Passage of the bill through the House had buyers chasing sellers last week in the uranium spot market, with sellers backing off. Only two transactions were completed. When the bill was blocked in the Senate, market participants retreated into wait-and-see mode.

TradeTech’s weekly spot price indicator nonetheless rose another US$3.00 to US$86.00/lb.

Nuclear Cop

Nuclear energy made history last week as the UN's COP28 climate conference for the first time officially called for accelerating the deployment of low-emission technologies, including nuclear energy, to help achieve "deep and rapid decarbonization".

The decision represents the first time the 198 signatory countries to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change have included nuclear energy in the Global Stocktake, TradeTech notes.

The inclusion of nuclear energy in the Global Stocktake follows two other significant agreements reached at COP28: The Ministerial Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy, which saw 22 countries set a goal of tripling global nuclear capacity by 2050, and the Global Renewable and Energy Efficiency Pledge, which recognised that nuclear energy will have a critical role in decarbonising the energy sector.

COP28 also saw more than 120 companies worldwide sign the Net Zero Nuclear Industry Pledge, echoing the goal set by the Ministerial Declaration.

The uranium, conversion, and enrichment markets have all being showing the effects of increased demand and limited availability, and the ambitious goals set out at COP28 will mean that the industry will need government and private industry support to meet its needs in the coming years, TradeTech notes.

For the term markets, this means that higher prices that have been witnessed across the entire fuel cycle, whether uranium, conversion, or enrichment, are likely to increase in the near term as the industry moves to find solutions to meet the needs of industry that is seeing growth beyond any witnessed in the sector in decades.

TradeTech’s term price indicators remain at US$82.50/lb (mid) and US$66.00/lb (long).

Uranium companies listed on the ASX:

1AE 18/12/2023 0.0800 0.00% $0.19 $0.05
AGE 18/12/2023 0.0550 5.77% $0.07 $0.03 $0.100 81.8%
BKY 18/12/2023 0.3500 – 4.11% $0.80 $0.28
BMN 18/12/2023 2.6800 3.88% $3.05 $1.19 $3.200 19.4%
BOE 18/12/2023 4.1700 9.16% $4.98 $1.97 48.3 $4.710 12.9%
DYL 18/12/2023 1.0100 5.21% $1.41 $0.48 $1.640 62.4%
EL8 18/12/2023 0.4500 0.00% $0.59 $0.27
ERA 18/12/2023 0.0370 -11.90% $0.30 $0.03
LOT 18/12/2023 0.2950 7.27% $0.32 $0.15 $0.530 79.7%
NXG 18/12/2023 10.4000 – 1.61% $10.80 $5.11
PDN 18/12/2023 0.9900 4.76% $1.15 $0.52 154.3 $1.190 20.2%
PEN 18/12/2023 0.1000 0.00% $0.20 $0.08 $0.250 150.0%
SLX 18/12/2023 4.1600 9.47% $5.32 $2.89 $5.800 39.4%

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