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In a presentation to the New York Chapter of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy and Exploration, Fletcher Newton, CEO for Power Resources, a subsidiary of Cameco, asserted that there is not enough urnaium to meet current needs, let alone future demand.
Newton said the Newchem Report, which he called one of the best sources for uranium information, has raised "significant questions about future supply," predicting a shortage of 100 million pounds of uranium over the next decade. He said the Chinese plan to build 22 reactors, and have the political will and power to accomplish the task.
Internationally, Farrell explained that 432 reactors now operate in 31 countries and three to four new plants are coming on line each year through 2010. A number of nations are realizing that to achieve the emission reductions suggested in the Kyoto Treaty, they will have to use nuclear energy, he added.
Looking ahead, there is likely to be a huge increase in demand. Nuclear power plants are most likely the wave of the future: China has plans for up to 40 plants; Japan, South Korea and France have all announced plans for new plants, and even in the U.S., President Bush commented that more nuclear plants may have to be built, as part of his energy plan.
Interestingly, opposition to new facilities may be more subdued going forward. Many environmentalists have publicly recognized that nuclear power is the cleanest of available sources.
The result is a huge gap over the next 10-15 years between expected requirements and production from existing sources (plus anticipated secondary sources). The World Nuclear Association, in fact, estimates that by 2020, supply (from existing facilities and secondary sources) will be only half the expected demand (40,000 tonnes versus 70,000 - 80,000 tonnes of demand).
This enormous gap arises from an over-reliance on inventories and secondary sources in the last decade, and the long lead times to permit new mines and bring them into production. To meet this new demand, there will have to be higher prices and new supplies; many of the properties being explored now will have to come into production.
Originally posted by mbkennel
1) there is a a large amount of highly enriched uranium from obsolete nuclear weapons which is presently in storage. This can, and has, been downblended to make it suitable for civilian power reactors. With more difficulty, we can use the plutonium as well, though there are greater security issues.