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Has the cost of uranium soared in the past few years?

  1. Jun 22, 2007 #1
    And are most of the uranium supplies outside the US?

  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 22, 2007 #2


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    The cost of uranium has increased somewhat, and most of the high-grade ores are outside the US. The US generally has low grade, with the highest grades coming from Australia and Canada.

    Here are some recent data on U3O8 prices.

    It appears spot prices have soared, but long term contracts have only risen very slightly.

    An article on mining/resources
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  4. Jun 22, 2007 #3
    thanks for sharing this with me, does this adversely affect nuclear's prospect in the long run?

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  5. Jun 23, 2007 #4


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    Certainly as price of fuel increases, the profitability of nuclear energy would decrease, but I don't think it is significant at the moment. There are other costs in nuclear fuel, such as the structural materials, and then in the plants, the operation and maintenance costs, capital costs and backend (storage of nuclear fuel) costs. Interest rates pretty much drive those.

    Then compare the rise in U prices with that of oil, gas and alternatives, and at the moment U looks attractive.
  6. Jun 24, 2007 #5
    anti-nuke environmentalists claim that not only are nukes dangerous, but that they are not cost-effective, and heavily subsidized by tax payers. My earlier thread is locked, but it does offer environmentalists arguments against Nukes.
  7. Jun 24, 2007 #6


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    One has to look at the costs from all aspects - capital costs of the plants, operating and maintenance costs, fuel costs, and very importantly pollution control and disposal costs.

    Some fossil fuel plants are allowed to operate with the strictest controls because they got grandfathered rights. Some coal plants emit more radioactivity than nuclear plants, because there are radioactive elements in the smokestack emissions (residual minerals in the coal). Clean coal is one remedy, but the federal government has subsidized much of clean coal technology.

    Oil is subsidized in the sense that the US military has been used in certain parts of the world where the oil supply was threatened.

    The price of coal, oil and gas will necessarily increase as the more economical supplies decrease, and with increasing demand.

    It should be pointed out that the nuclear industry has paid $billions into the US Treasury for the purpose of a final repository (for spent fuel), which has yet to be completed - if ever.
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2007
  8. Jun 24, 2007 #7


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    Don't believe what the anti-nuke environmentalists claim - they have a LONG track
    record of misrepresentations - which is why your other thread got locked.

    Nuclear power is second only to coal as the cheapest form of electrical generation.

    Given that practically all the costs of nuclear power are internalized, whereas this is not
    true for coal - one could argue that nuclear is the cheapest if we were to account for the
    unaccounted for environmental costs of coal. For example, the costs of waste disposal
    for nuclear power is paid by a tax on the nuclear utilities to pay for the cost of the
    waste disposal facilities. With coal, the waste goes up the stack and the damage it
    causes is not reflected in the cost of coal-fired electricity.

    Another LIE by the anti-nukes is that nuclear power is subsidized. They usually point
    to the cost of liability insurance that the Government provides under the
    Price-Anderson Act. What the anti-nukes don't tell you is that the nuclear utilities PAY
    for that coverage - it is NOT a subsidy. The nuclear utilities have to pay between
    $1 Million and $5 Million per reactor per year.

    It's a great deal for the Government - they take in about one-half BILLION dollars each
    year - and they have yet to pay out dollar one in liability claims in one-half CENTURY
    of nuclear power operation in the USA. Check out the Price-Anderson Act:

    http://www.nei.org/index.asp?catnum=3&catid=595 [Broken]

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  9. Jun 24, 2007 #8


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    Those may be commonly used arguments, but we do not allow crackpottery here, even if just to debunk them. It attracts crackpots.
  10. Jun 25, 2007 #9
    "n 2002, a meltdown at Davis-Besse was avoided in the nick of time by luck, by chance, not by skill or talent on the part of the operators or the regulators."

    I wasn't sure if to what extent the statements he alleges, such as there being a recent "near accident" would qualify.

    I can respect that.

    the author "Russell D. Hoffman, a computer programme" seems to be above average in intelligence. and of course it was published by CP's high standards.
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2007
  11. Jun 25, 2007 #10
    I will thanks. Politically though it seems environmentalists have the willpower and activism to prevent the deployment of nuclear reactors. They speak of the threat of an airplane being hijacked and running into one.
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  12. Jun 26, 2007 #11


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    There wasn't a near meltdown at Davis Besse. However, there was a potential for a loss of coolant accident (LOCA). A small leak around a nozzle in pressure vessel head allowed collant, rather high pressure steam to wear away several kgs of carbon steel. The stainless steel liner however remained intact and was sufficient to prevent rupture. The plant did come down about two months early into a refueling outage. During the refueling outage, the mandatory inspection of the vessel head revealed significant degradation of the carbon steel around two nozzles, and somewhat lesser around a third.

    Davis-Besse Reactor Vessel Head Degradation
    http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/operating/ops-experience/vessel-head-degradation/images.html - See images of nozzles 3 and 11.

    The pressure vessel problem should have been dealt with during the prior refueling outage nearly two years earlier. There were indications of a problem, but it was considered minor. There was a management shakeup, people got fired, some have been banned from employment in the industry, and I believe there have been criminal investigations. I don't know if anyone has been prosecuted.
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2017
  13. Jun 26, 2007 #12


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    An airplane crashing into a nuclear power plant is one of the accidents scenarios that
    the plants are DESIGNED for.

    From an article in the Engineering News Record about the collapse of the World Trade
    Center Towers on 9/11:


    "Only the containment building at a nuclear powerplant" is designed to withstand such an
    impact and explosion, says Robert S. Vecchio, principal of metallurgical engineer Lucius
    Pitkin Inc., referring to the hijacked Boeing 767 airplanes, heavy with fuel, that slammed
    into each WTC tower. "

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
  14. Jun 26, 2007 #13


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    I've read lots of stuff by this Russell D. Hoffman; and my opinion is that he
    EXAGGERATES like crazy!!!

    Just because one is a computer programmer does NOT mean that one knows the
    nuclear physics and engineering that underlies the operation of a nuclear reactor.

    As Astronuc detailed in his response - the "near meltdown" claimed by Hoffman is
    one of his typical exaggerations.

    Hoffman publishes a list of his collection of books on nuclear power on his website:


    He seems to have practically every anti-nuclear alarmist book yet written.

    However, a comprehensive collection of books on nuclear power would be more
    balanced than what I see listed. Did he ever consider reading a very scholarly
    book by Robert C. Morris, "The Environmental Case for Nuclear Power":


    Or how about reading what Greenpeace-founder Patrick Moore had to say to Congress
    about nuclear power:


    "We cannot simply switch to basing all our actions on purely environmental values.

    Every day 6 billion people wake up with real needs for food, energy and materials. The
    challenge for sustainability is to provide for those needs in ways that reduce negative impact
    on the environment."

    I think you can tell a lot from the list of books that someone has read. If they
    are all ONE-SIDED - then you know the person has limited their knowledge
    to one side of an issue.

    Dr. Gregory Greenman
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  15. Jun 26, 2007 #14


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    Good debunking, but this conspriacy theory stuff is so bad it does not warrant discussion here. We welcome honest, open questions, not 'hey, look what this crackpot says...' discussions.

    Thread locked.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2007
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