US 2018 uranium purchase figures released

03 June 2019

Owners and operators of US civilian nuclear power reactors purchased a total of 40 million pounds U3O8 equivalent (U3O8e) (15,386 tU) of deliveries during 2018, according to the latest uranium marketing report from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Nearly 10% of that was US-origin uranium.

US uranium purchases by origin, 2013-2018 (Image: EIA)

Total deliveries were 6% lower than 2017's figure of 43 million pounds U3O8e, the EIA's Uranium Marketing Annual Report found. Canada, at 9.6 million pounds, was the largest single country supplier to the USA in 2018, followed by Kazakhstan at 8.2 million pounds and Australia, at 7.2 million pounds. The remainder came from Russia (5.4 million pounds), Uzbekistan (2.5 million pounds) and Namibia (2.2 million pounds). US-origin purchases were 3.9 million pounds.

Uranium concentrate accounted for 59% of the material making up the 2018 deliveries, with enriched uranium hexafluoride 21% and natural uranium hexafluoride 20%. Most of the uranium delivered during the year - 84% - was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted average price of USD40.99 per pound, with 16% purchased under spot market contracts at a weighted-average price of USD27.51 per pound.

Uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into US nuclear power reactors during 2018 contained 50.2 million pounds U3O8e, of which 11% was of US origin.

Future contracts

A total of 36 new purchase contracts for deliveries during 2018 were signed in the year, the EIA said. Five of these were long-term contracts.

Owners and operators report the minimum and maximum quantities of future deliveries under existing contracts. At the end of 2018, maximum deliveries for the period 2019-2028 under existing contracts were 175 million pounds U3O8e. Unfilled uranium requirements for the period total 201 million pounds.

"These contracted deliveries and unfilled market requirements combined represent the maximum anticipated market requirements of 376 million pounds U3O8e over the next 10 years," the EIA said.

Total US commercial inventories at the end of the year - including inventories owned by reactor owners and operators, US brokers, converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers and traders - were 131.5 million pounds U3O8e. Inventory owned by owners and operators, at 111.6 million pounds, was 10% lower than at the end of 2017.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News