US DOE asked to end transfers of uranium to the market

23 April 2017

The Uranium Producers of America (UPA) has called on the US Department of Energy (DOE) to halt transfers of federal excess uranium inventory until the uranium market recovers.

UPA said the domestic industry is currently in a fragile state after the transfer of large quantities of price-insensitive material over a long period. "While we see growth in the long term, the uranium market is oversupplied in the short term, and the DOE material continues to overwhelm the market with large quantities of price insensitive supply."  

The 18-page letter, signed by UPA president Harry Anthony, notes that the USA is currently importing 94% of the uranium required to fuel its nuclear reactors, which meet 20% of the country's energy needs. "UPA recognizes DOE is not the only reason for the current market conditions, but the DOE transfers since 2011 have clearly had an adverse material impact," it notes. It recommends that DOE should stop all transfers when the uranium spot market price is below the US Energy Information Administration's reported production cost for uranium (currently $35.453 per lb), and that "under no circumstance" should it "transfer more uranium than the US uranium industry is producing".

The UPA said its recommendations are consistent with the Energy Independence Policy Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on 28 March. This includes a clause ordering the heads of agencies to review regulations and other actions that potentially "burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources" including nuclear. "We are confident our industry can provide a stable, domestic supply of uranium to power our nuclear reactors, but the market needs time to recover and we need room in the market to compete. The DOE material is crowding out the market and accounting for nearly all the near-term uncommitted US utility demand," the UPA said.



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