Nuclear & Uranium

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U.S. Uranium Reserves Estimates

Data for: 2008   |   Release Date: July 2010   |  Next Release Date: Discontinued

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has updated its estimates of uranium reserves for year-end 2008. This represents the first revision of the estimates since 2004. The update is based on analysis of company annual reports, any additional information reported by companies at conferences and in news releases, personal contacts, and expert judgment.

Summary


At the end of 2008, U.S. uranium reserves totaled 1,227 million pounds of U3O8 at a maximum forward cost (MFC) of up to $100 per pound U3O8 (Table 1). At up to $50 per pound U3O8, estimated reserves were 539 million pounds of U3O8. Based on average 1999-2008 consumption levels (uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into nuclear reactors), uranium reserves available at up to $100 per pound of U3O8 represented approximately 23 years worth of demand, while uranium reserves at up to $50 per pound of U3O8 represented about 10 years worth of demand. Domestic U.S. uranium production, however, supplies only about 10 percent, on average, of U.S. requirements for nuclear fuel, so the effective years’ supply of domestic uranium reserves is actually much higher, under current market conditions.

In 2008, Wyoming led the Nation in total uranium reserves, in both the $50 and $100 per pound U3O8 categories, with New Mexico second. Taken together, these two States constituted about two-thirds of the estimated reserves in the country available at up to $100 per pound U3O8, and three-quarters of the reserves available at less than $50 per pound U3O8. By mining method, uranium reserves in underground mines constituted just under half of the available product at up to $100 per pound U3O8 (Table 2). At up to $50 per pound U3O8, however, uranium available through in-situ leaching (ISL) was about 40 percent of total reserves, somewhat higher than uranium in underground mines in that cost category. ISL is the dominant mining method for U.S. production today. See Table 3 for more estimates from 1993 through 2003 and 2008.