2020 Nuclear Fuel Cycle Supply and Price Report
June 2020: ERI Publishes 2020 Nuclear Fuel Cycle Supply and Price Report
ERI has published the 2020 Nuclear Fuel Cycle Supply and Price Report, which provides comprehensive and in-depth analyses of all elements of the nuclear fuel markets through 2040 using ERI’s proprietary Integrated Market Model (IMM). The IMM projects worldwide forecasts for nuclear power and integrates these nuclear power forecasts and associated nuclear fuel demand with nuclear fuel supply forecasts. The 2020 Report will (i) examine the key nuclear fuel requirements and supply issues likely to affect the uranium, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication markets as well as spent fuel management, and (ii) project future long-term market prices and market shares.
Some of the important topics that are addressed in the report include:
- Impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on nuclear electricity generation, taking into account how changes in 2020 refueling outage schedules will impact subsequent refueling outages in 2021 or 2022 and related nuclear fuel demand.
- Uranium production increased by 2% for the world in 2019, with the 5% increase in Kazakhstan offset by steady or slightly lower production in most other countries. Uranium production is expected to decline by at least 13% in 2020, as most major mines have announced outages as precautionary measures due to COVID-19. However, the outages could last longer than the 2 to 3 months currently assumed. The 2020 Report examines current primary uranium production including the timing for restart of mines on standby and/or possible expansion of existing mines. Supply from secondary sources, such as inventory, enrichment underfeeding and possible re-enrichment of depleted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) are combined with primary production and demand in forecasting long-term market prices.
- Security of supply of conversion services is a heightened concern with the continued ready-idle status of Metropolis Works, the slower than planned ramp-up of Orano’s Philippe Coste conversion plant, and the temporary four-week closure of Cameco’s Port Hope conversion plant due to COVID-19 concerns. The 2020 Report examines long-term supply-demand balance and the associated market prices for conversion services, including the impact of this loss of primary production.
- Enrichment prices increased approximately 20% during 2019, have been stable thus far in 2020, but the sector remains under pressure. As the end of 2020 and conclusion of the current Russian Suspension Agreement approaches, the DOC is actively negotiating an extension of the annual import limits. The 2020 Report examines theses issues as well as primary and secondary market supply for enrichment services, including the timing of enrichment facility cascade retirements and possible replacements. The resulting supply and demand balance and production cost-based price forecast indicate when prices for enrichment services might be expected to rise.