Uranium Week: A Nuclear Recovery

Weekly Reports | Jun 23 2020

The IEA has suggested nuclear energy plays a part in a post-virus global economic recovery, as the market remains fixated on more immediate matters.

-IEA supports nuclear power investment
-WNA points to job creation
-Uncertainty continues to weigh on uranium market

By Greg Peel

The Paris-based International Energy Agency last week put out a report titled The World Energy Outlook Special Report on Sustainable Recovery, outlining a set of policy actions and targeted investments in an energy-focused, post-virus economic recovery plan, put together with the International Monetary Fund.

While the report focuses mainly on energy efficiency and the expansion of renewables, it also supports nuclear power as an "important adjustment factor in reducing CO2 emissions", suggesting US$15bn should be invested in the maintenance and expansion of new nuclear power plants.

The report was not going to slip by the World Nuclear Association, which responded that for a sustained transition to a clean energy future, new nuclear plants must play a substantial role, industry consultant TradeTech notes. "The report underestimates the number of new nuclear power projects ready to start construction," the WNA declares, "as well as the thousands of supply chain jobs that would be created years before construction would begin on later reactor projects".

"In addition to construction, the operation phase of nuclear power plants, lasting 60 years or more, would create a large number of long-term high-skilled jobs that would particularly benefit local communities. This acceleration of nuclear new build would support long-term sustainable economic growth, and would make a major contribution to the global nuclear industry's Harmony goal, which targets 1000 GW of new nuclear capacity by 2050".

Back in the Now

That might be the future, but for now the nuclear power industry remains focused on the upcoming expiry of the Russian Suspension Agreement with the US. US Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration concluded last week the termination clause in the Agreement has signalled a free uranium market post-2020, and has thus allowed the prospect of "additional cheap and abundant Russian uranium products to overhang the market and impact pricing."

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