Russia’s state-owned nuclear power conglomerate, Rosatom, is suspected of supplying the Russian arms industry with components, technology, and raw materials for missile fuel. The military supplies were delivered to more than a half-dozen major weapon manufacturers, assisting Moscow’s ongoing assault on Ukraine.
This has increased the possibility that the US, and perhaps the European Union, will impose sanctions on Rosatom, which exports uranium for use in nuclear reactors.
The US is heavily reliant on Russian nuclear fuel, but American companies have some options if Rosatom is faced with sanctions.
After the Cold War ended, US and Russian leaders agreed that Russia would dismantle some of its nuclear weapons, downgrade the uranium and send it to the US to be repurposed and used in civilian nuclear reactors in what was known as the megaton to megawatt program. Over the course of the 20-year program, which ended in 2013, up to 10% of US electricity came from fuel made from Russian warheads.
In 2021, the US purchased 14% of its uranium from Russia.
Russia, has the world’s largest uranium enrichment capabilities, accounting for nearly half of global capacity, and its neighbour, over which Russia has huge political influence, is Kazakhstan, a landlocked country that happens to be the largest uranium producer in the world.
The US is Looking to Canada for Uranium
The US does have some uranium production options of its own but in a world of rising uranium prices and growing demand, the real focus is on its northern neighbor, Canada – the world’s second largest uranium producer and the only country on the planet with large, high-grade deposits. While Kazakhstan-based Kazatomprom announced that production declined in 2022 compared to the prior year, Canada’s uranium major, Cameco, recently resumed production after a four-year hiatus at its massive MacArthur River/Key Lake complex. There’s no question that Canada is primed to take advantage of the uranium bull market.
PLS is in the renowned Athabasca Basin uranium district, and hosts the region’s only major, high-grade deposit found at shallow depth – a big advantage in terms of construction time, technical risk, and competitive cost. In fact, this advanced uranium project has the potential to become one of the lowest operating cost uranium mines in the world
Fission Uranium recently announced the results of a Feasibility Study (FS) at PLS, which further enhances the robust economics from the previously completed Pre-Feasibility Study.
Some of the highlights from the FS include a 42% increase in the mine life to 10 years with life of mine production of 90.9 million pounds of U3O8, a much higher after-tax NPV of C$1.204 billion at an 8% discount, and a higher after-tax IRR of 27.2% while maintaining a very low OPEX of C$13.02/lb – which is less than US$10/lb.
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