Think $100 Oil Is Bad? Here Comes $100 Uranium

American firms lag as world prepares for big crunch in supplies
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 5, 2011 6:29 AM CST
Technicians check the contamination level during the uranium refuel in the reactors of the Angra II nuclear plant in Angra dos Reis, Brazil, January 19, 2006.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – While we’re worrying about a spike in oil prices, the rising cost of another energy source is being largely ignored: uranium. Last month, the nuclear power source reached $73 a pound, a three-year high—and in the next 10 years, it could approach its all-time high of $136 a pound. While the world uses 180 million pounds of uranium yearly, it produces just 140 million; and an international “nuclear renaissance” is only making matters worse, Fortune reports.

Meanwhile, a US program to reprocess Soviet warheads—the source of hundreds of tons of uranium since the 1990s—will end next year. With a 10- to 15-year lag between finding new uranium and bringing it to market, we’re headed for a serious crunch in supplies, writes Richard Martin. And while many countries are teaming up with uranium firms to prepare for it, US companies aren’t much considering the long-term. “They’re publicly-traded companies, so they're making decisions to next year or next quarter,” says an expert. Americans are "out of sync with the rest of the world."

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