US uranium purchases show year-on-year increase: EIA

11 June 2024

US utilities purchased 27% more uranium in 2023 than 2022, according to the US Energy Information Administration's latest annual report. Most of this came from foreign suppliers - US-origin material accounted for 5% of total deliveries, the same percentage as 2022.

(Image: EIA)

Owners and operators of US civilian nuclear power reactors purchased uranium deliveries equivalent to a total of 51.6 million pounds U3O8 (19,838 tU), at a weighted-average price of USD43.80 per pound U3O8, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its Uranium Marketing Annual Report, published on 6 June. This was 12% higher than the 2022 weighted-average price of USD39.08 per pound U3O8 and was the highest price since 2015.

Canada accounted for 27% of total deliveries, followed by Australia and Kazakhstan with 22% each. Russian-origin material accounted for 12% of total deliveries and Uzbekistan-origin material accounted for 10% of total deliveries. Deliveries also came from China and several countries in Africa. 15% of the uranium delivered was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted-average price of USD51.64 per pound, with the remaining 85% purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted-average price of USD42.42 per pound.

Based on reactor owner and operators' reports of deliveries under existing contracts from 2024-2033, together with unfilled uranium market requirements, the EIA anticipates market requirements of a maximum of 433 million pounds U3O8 over the next 10 years.

During the year, the owners and operators of US nuclear power plants delivered 34 million pounds U3O8 of natural uranium feed to enrichers, with 39% of this going to US enrichment suppliers and the rest to foreign suppliers.

The EIA also found that commercial US inventories of uranium - which represent ownership of uranium in different stages of the nuclear fuel cycle at domestic or foreign nuclear fuel facilities and include material owned by US brokers, converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers, and traders as well as plant owners and operators - were higher year-on-year, at 152 million pounds U3O8, a 6% increase on 2022's year-end figure.

The import of Russian-produced unirradiated LEU into the USA will be banned from August under the Prohibiting Russian Uranium Imports Act, although would-be importers can apply for waivers to allow the import of limited amounts of material up until 1 January 2028.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News