Uranium Week: Iran Threatens Retaliation

Weekly Reports | Sep 22 2020

As the uranium price continues its incremental slide, Iran threatens a reaction to nuclear program restrictions.

-Iran to give a “crushing response to America’s bullying”
-Amendments to the Russian Suspension Agreement
-Weekly spot prices have fallen around -0.8% per week since May

By Mark Woodruff

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has said the US "faces defeat" in its move to reimpose UN sanctions on the country as European allies called the unilateral declaration legally void, reports the BBC website.

Under the nuclear deal, Iran is allowed to enrich uranium only up to a 3.67% concentration, to stockpile no more than 300kg (660lbs) of the material, to operate no more than 5,060 of its oldest and least efficient centrifuges and to cease enrichment at the underground Fordo facility.

Another part of the deal instructs Iran not to accumulate more than 130 tonnes of heavy water, which contains more hydrogen than ordinary water, and to redesign its heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak. Spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium, which can be used in a nuclear bomb.

In a televised speech, Mr Rouhani said Iran would "give a crushing response to America's bullying".

The Trump administration is reimposing measures under the mechanism of a deal the US has quit. However, the UK, France and Germany insist the US had no power to carry out such a move.

The three countries - alongside China, Russia and the US - were parties to a landmark deal signed with Iran in 2015 to curb its nuclear program.

International Atomic Energy Agency Report

New nuclear power projections released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this week finds nuclear generation trends largely unchanged from last year's projections.

Under the high case scenario, IAEA analysts expect an increase of global nuclear electrical generating capacity to 715 GW (82%), while the low case scenario forecasts a decline to 363 GW (7%), reports industry consultant TradeTech.

“The latest IAEA annual projections show that nuclear power will continue to play a key role in the world’s low-carbon energy mix, with global nuclear electrical capacity seen nearly doubling by 2050 in our high case scenario. Climate change mitigation remains a key potential driver for maintaining and expanding the use of nuclear power,” IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi said this week.

However, according to the report, immediate and concerted action is required for nuclear power to reach a share of 11% of electricity generation by 2050, as seen in the high case scenario. In the low case scenario, the share of nuclear energy relative to global electricity production could decline to approximately 7%.

The report outlines that about two-thirds of commercial power reactors have been in operation for more than 30 years, which emphasizes the need for significant new nuclear capacity to offset retirements. However, uncertainty remains regarding the replacement of the large number of reactors scheduled to be retired around 2030 and beyond, particularly in North America and Europe.

Legislative News

A draft amendment to the Russian Suspension Agreement (RSA) was released by the US Department of Commerce (DoC) on September 11.

A notable change, noted TradeTech, was the revised general export limit includes a decreasing volume of allowed Russian uranium exports to the US equal to an average of 17% of US enrichment demand over the next 20 years. By comparison, the current agreement averages 20% of US enrichment demand.


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