U.S. Energy Information Administration - EIA - Independent Statistics and Analysis
Nuclear & Uranium
Uranium Marketing Annual Report
With Data for 2015 | Release Date: May 24, 2016 | Next Release Date: May 2017 | full report
Uranium purchases and prices
Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors ("civilian owner/operators" or "COOs") purchased a total of 57 million pounds U3O8e (equivalent1) of deliveries from U.S. suppliers and foreign suppliers during 2015, at a weighted-average price of $44.13 per pound U3O8e. The 2015 total of 57 million pounds U3O8e increased 6% compared with the 2014 total of 53 million pounds U3O8e. The 2015 weighted-average price of $44.13 per pound U3O8e decreased 4% compared with the 2014 weighted-average price of $46.16 per pound U3O8e.
Six percent of the 57 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2015 was U.S.-origin uranium at a weighted-average price of $43.86 per pound. Foreign-origin uranium accounted for the remaining 94% of deliveries at a weighted-average price of $44.14 per pound. Uranium originating in Kazakhstan, Russia and Uzbekistan accounted for 37% of the 57 million pounds. Australian-origin and Canadian-origin uranium together accounted for 47%. The remaining 10% originated from Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, and South Africa.
COOs purchased uranium of three material types for 2015 deliveries from 36 sellers, two more than in 2014. Uranium concentrate was 55% of the 57 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2015. Natural UF6 was 30% and enriched UF6 was 15%. During 2015, 21% of the uranium was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted-average price of $36.80 per pound. The remaining 79% was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted-average price of $46.04 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 2015, COOs signed 54 new purchase contracts with deliveries in 2015 of 12 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $37.97 per pound. Nine new contracts were long-term contracts with 24% of the 2015 deliveries and 45 new contracts were spot contracts with 76% of the deliveries in 2015.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 2015, the maximum uranium deliveries for 2016 through 2025 under existing purchase contracts for COOs totaled 183 million pounds U3O8e. Also as of the end of 2015, unfilled uranium market requirements for 2016 through 2025 totaled 259 million pounds U3O8e. These contracted deliveries and unfilled market requirements combined represent the maximum anticipated market requirements of 442 million pounds U3O8e over the ten-year period for COOs.
Uranium feed, enrichment services, uranium loaded
In 2015, COOs delivered 41 million pounds U3O8e of natural uranium feed to U.S. and foreign enrichers. Forty three percent of the feed was delivered to U.S. enrichment suppliers and the remaining 57% was delivered to foreign enrichment suppliers. Thirteen million separative work units (SWU)2 were purchased under enrichment services contracts from 12 sellers in 2015, one more than in 2014. The average price paid by the COOs for the 13 million SWU was $136.88 per SWU in 2015, compared with the 2014 average price of $140.75 per SWU. In 2015, the U.S.-origin SWU share was 32% and foreign-origin SWU accounted for the remaining 68%. Russian-origin SWU was 17% of the total. Germany, Netherlands, and the United Kingdom had an aggregate share of 48%.
Uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors during 2015 contained 47 million pounds U3O8e, compared with 51 million pounds U3O8e loaded during 2014. Nine percent of the uranium loaded during 2015 was U.S.-origin uranium, and 91% was foreign-origin uranium.
Uranium foreign purchases/sales and inventories
U.S. suppliers (brokers, converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers, and traders) and COOs purchase uranium each year from foreign suppliers. Together, foreign purchases totaled 64 million pounds U3O8e in 2015, and the weighted-average price was $42.96 per pound U3O8e. Also, U.S. suppliers and COOs sold uranium to foreign suppliers. Together, foreign sales totaled 26 million pounds U3O8e in 2015, and the weighted-average price was $39.29 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 136 million pounds U3O8e as of the end of 2015. Commercial uranium inventories owned at the end of 2015 by COOs totaled 121 million pounds U3O8e, an increase of 6% from year-end 2014. Uranium inventories owned by U.S. brokers and traders were 6 million pounds U3O8e. U.S. converter, enrichers, fabricators and producers owned 9 million pounds U3O8e of inventories at the end of 2015.
1Uranium quantities are expressed in the unit of measure U3O8e (equivalent). U3O8e is uranium oxide (or uranium concentrate) and the equivalent uranium-component of uranium hexafluoride (UF6) and enriched uranium.
2Separative 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).