U.S. Brokers and Traders Increase Uranium Stocks: Uranium & Fuel

May 30, 2022

The “vast majority” of uranium delivered to the United States in 2021 was of foreign origin, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Uranium stocks held by U.S. brokers and dealers rose for the second straight year and nearly tripled since 2019.

Kazakh-sourced uranium dominated US purchases in 2021 (Image: EIA)

EIAs 2021 Annual Report on Uranium Marketing includes detailed data on U.S. uranium trading activities for the past five years, as well as summary data dating back to 2000. These are based on information reported through an annual survey which collects data on contracts, deliveries and planned deliveries, enrichment services purchased, inventory, use in fuel assemblies, feed deliveries to enrichers and unmet market needs for the next 10 years .

Owners and operators of US nuclear power plants purchased a total of 46.7 million pounds of U3O8 (17,963 tU) from deliveries in 2021. Of this amount, 44.3 million pounds were sourced overseas, with Kazakhstan accounting for 35% of total shipments, followed by Canada (14.8%) and Australia (14.4%). Russia accounted for some 6,314 million pounds, or 13.5% of all deliveries.

Some 19% of the uranium delivered in 2021 was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted average price of US$30.56 per pound. The remaining 81% was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted average price of $34.71 per pound.

Contracted deliveries under existing purchase contracts for 2022-2031 of 180 million pounds of U3O8 and unfilled uranium market requirements of 182 million pounds for the same period represent maximum market requirements forecast of 362 million pounds of U3O8 over the next 10 years for US owners and operators.

Commercial stocks of uranium in the United States – including stocks held by plant owners and operators, brokers, converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers and traders – were 141.7 million pounds U3O8 by the end of 2021, according to the report. This is 8% more than the 131 million pounds at the end of 2020. The majority of this inventory – 108.5 million pounds, 76% – is held by owners and operators of power stations, with almost 18 % held by brokers and traders, and just under 6% held by processors, enrichers, processors and producers.

It is the third year-on-year increase in stocks held by US brokers and traders, from 9.4 million pounds at the end of 2019 to 18.3 million pounds in 2020 to 25.2 million of books at the end of 2021.

The World Nuclear Association estimates that US reactors accounted for around 28% of the world’s uranium needs in 2021.

The inventory figures given in the EIA report are all provisional.

Research and writing by World Nuclear News

About Cassondra Durden

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