According to the latest edition of ‘Uranium – Resources, Production and Demand’ (the Red Book), published on 13 December by the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency and the International Atomic Energy Agency, the outlook for nuclear power has decreased since the last publication in 2016.
However, nuclear power is projected to increase. “Since nuclear power plants produce competitively priced, low-carbon baseload electricity, and the deployment of nuclear power enhances the security of energy supply, it is projected to remain an important component of energy supply,” the report says.
World nuclear capacity is projected to grow to between 331GW net in the low demand case and 568GW net in the high demand case by 2035, taking into account changes in policies in several countries and revised nuclear programmes. The low case represents a decrease of about 15% from 2016 nuclear generating capacity, and the high case an increase of about 45%.
The world’s identified uranium resources are reported to be 6,142,200 tU, which can be recovered at a cost of $130 per kg or less. These are recoverable, reasonably assured and inferred resources and this is an increase of 7.4% compared with 2016. While global uranium mine production increased by 3% from 2015 to 2016, production has begun to decline with 59,342 tU produced in 2017. Further reductions are expected in 2018 as major producing countries, including Canada and Kazakhstan, limit total production in response to the sustained low price of uranium.