New IAEA data shows no shortage of uranium for global nuclear energy programs

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(Kitco News) – The International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) reported today that the world has sufficient uranium resources to support the long-term use of nuclear energy.

In recently released latest edition of “Uranium – Resources, Production and Demand” report, also known as the “Red Book”, IAEA, together with the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (“NEA”), showed that the global uranium resources have increased, but more modestly than in previous years.

According to the Red Book, the world’s conventional identified uranium resources amounted to 8,070,400 tonnes of uranium metal (tU) as of 1 January 2019.

Compared to the total reported in the 2018 edition, this is an increase of 1%.

However, global uranium exploration expenditures decreased to approximately USD 0.5 billion in 2018, a significant drop from USD 2 billion in 2014. This trend could signal market issues in the longer-term.  

Global uranium mine production decreased by 10.8% from 2017 to 2018 due to production cuts resulting from poor market conditions but increased slightly by 1% to 54,224 tU in 2019.

Furthermore, planned uranium production cuts in early 2020 were deepened by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and its effects could be felt through 2021 and beyond.

IAEA concluded that the uranium resource base described in the Red Book is more than adequate to meet low and high case uranium demand through 2040 and beyond.   

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