U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Nuclear & Uranium
Uranium Marketing Annual Report
With Data for 2012 | Release Date: May 16, 2013 | Next Release Date: May 2014 | full report
Previous uranium marketing annual reports
Uranium purchases and prices
Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors ("civilian owner/operators" or "COOs") purchased a total of 58 million pounds U3O8e (equivalent1) of deliveries from U.S. suppliers and foreign suppliers during 2012, at a weighted-average price of $54.99 per pound U3O8e. The 2012 total of 58 million pounds U3O8e increased 5 percent compared with the 2011 total of 55 million pounds U3O8e. The 2012 weighted-average price of $54.99 per pound U3O8e increased 442 percent compared with the 2001 weighted-average price of $10.15 per pound U3O8e, the lowest weighted-average price from 1994-2012.
Seventeen percent of the U3O8e delivered in 2012 was U.S.-origin uranium at a weighted-average price of $59.44 per pound. Foreign-origin uranium accounted for the remaining 83 percent of deliveries at a weighted-average price of $54.07 per pound. Australian-origin and Canadian-origin uranium together accounted for 35 percent of the 58 million pounds. Uranium originating in Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan accounted for 29 percent and the remaining 19 percent originated from Brazil, China, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, and Ukraine. Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors purchased uranium for 2012 deliveries from 32 sellers, the same number as in 2011.
COOs purchased uranium of three material types. Uranium concentrate was 50 percent of the deliveries in 2012 and natural and enriched UF6 were 50 percent. During 2012, 14 percent of the uranium was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted-average price of $51.04 per pound. The remaining 86 percent was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted-average price of $55.65 per pound. Spot contracts are contracts with a one-time uranium delivery (usually) for the entire contract and the delivery is to occur within one year of contract execution (signed date). Long-term contracts are contracts with one or more uranium deliveries to occur after a year following the contract execution (signed date) and as such may reflect some agreements of short and medium terms as well as longer term.
New and future uranium contracts
In 2012, COOs signed 34 new purchase contracts with deliveries in 2012 of 12 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $55.16 per pound. Thirty one were new spot contracts and three were new long-term contracts.
COOs report minimum and maximum quantities of future deliveries under contract, to allow for the option of either decreasing or increasing quantities. As of the end of 2012, the maximum uranium deliveries for 2013 through 2022 under existing purchase contracts for COOs totaled 252 million pounds U3O8e. Also as of the end of 2012, unfilled uranium market requirements for 2013 through 2022 totaled 255 million pounds U3O8e. These contracted deliveries and unfilled market requirements combined represent the maximum anticipated market requirements of 508 million pounds U3O8e over the ten-year period for COOs.
Uranium feed, enrichment services, uranium loaded
In 2012, COOs delivered 52 million pounds U3O8e of natural uranium feed to U.S. and foreign enrichers. Sixty-two percent of the feed was delivered to U.S. enrichment suppliers and the remaining 38 percent was delivered to foreign enrichment suppliers. Sixteen million separative work units (SWU)2 were purchased under enrichment services contracts from 11 sellers in 2012, up from the 9 sellers in 2011. The average price paid by the COOs for the 16 million SWU was $141.36 per SWU in 2012, compared with the 2011 average price of $136.12 per SWU. In 2012, the U.S.-origin SWU share was 21 percent and foreign-origin SWU accounted for the remaining 79 percent. Russian-origin SWU was 42 percent of the total. Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom had an aggregate share of 33 percent.
Uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors during 2012 contained 49 million pounds U3O8e, compared with 51 million pounds U3O8e loaded during 2011. Ten percent of the uranium loaded during 2012 was U.S.-origin uranium, and 90 percent was foreign-origin uranium.
Uranium foreign purchases/sales and inventories
U.S. suppliers (brokers, converter, enrichers, fabricators, producers, and traders) and COOs purchase uranium each year from foreign suppliers. Foreign purchases totaled 56 million pounds U3O8e in 2012, and the weighted-average price was $51.44 per pound U3O8e. Also, U.S. suppliers and COOs sold uranium to foreign suppliers. Foreign sales totaled 18 million pounds U3O8e in 2012, and the weighted-average price was $47.57 per pound U3O8e
Year-end commercial uranium inventories represent ownership of uranium in different stages of the nuclear fuel cycle (in-process for conversion, enrichment, or fabrication) at domestic or foreign nuclear fuel facilities. Total U.S. commercial inventories (including inventories owned by COOs, U.S. brokers, converter, enrichers, fabricators, producers, and traders) was 121 million pounds U3O8e as of the end of 2012. Commercial uranium inventories owned at the end of 2012 by COOs totaled 97 million pounds U3O8e, an increase of 8 percent from year-end 2011. Uranium inventories owned by U.S. brokers and traders were 6 million pounds U3O8e. U.S. converter, enrichers, fabricators and producers owned 18 million pounds U3O8e of inventories at the end of 2012.
1 Uranium quantities are expressed in the unit of measure U3O8e (equivalent). U3O8e is uranium oxide (or uranium concentrate) and the equivalent uranium-component of hexafluoride (UF6) and enriched uranium.
2 Separative work unit (SWU): The standard measure of enrichment services. The effort expended in separating a mass F of feed of assay xf into a mass P of product assay xp and waste of mass W and assay xw is expressed in terms of the number of separative work units needed, given by the expression SWU = WV(xw) + PV(xp) - FV(xf), where V(x) is the "value function," defined as V(x) = (1 - 2x) 1n((1 - x)/x).