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Uranium Marketing Annual Report

With Data for 2017  |  Release Date:  May 31, 2018  |  Next Release Date: May 2019 | full report

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Uranium purchases and prices

Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors (civilian owner/operators, or COOs) purchased a total of 43 million pounds U3O8e (equivalent[1]) of deliveries from U.S. suppliers and foreign suppliers during 2017, at a weighted-average price of $38.80 per pound U3O8e. The 2017 total of 43 million pounds U3O8e was 15% lower than the 2016 total of 50.6 million pounds U3O8e. The 2017 weighted-average price of $38.80 per pound U3O8e was 9% lower than the 2016 weighted-average price of $42.43 per pound U3O8e (Table 1).

Seven percent of the 43 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2017 was U.S.-origin uranium at a weighted-average price of $35.55 per pound. Foreign-origin uranium accounted for the remaining 93% of deliveries at a weighted-average price of $39.04 per pound (Table 2). Australian-origin and Canadian-origin uranium together accounted for 52% of the 43 million pounds. Uranium originating in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan accounted for 32%. The remaining 9% originated from Hungary, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, South Africa, and Ukraine (Table 3).

COOs purchased three material types of uranium for 2017 deliveries from 36 sellers, the same number of sellers as in 2016 (Table 4, Table 24). Uranium concentrate was 55% of the 43 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2017. Natural UF6 was 27%, and enriched UF6 was 18% (Table 4). During 2017, 14% of the uranium delivered was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted-average price of $22.36 per pound. The remaining 86% was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted-average price of $41.58 per pound (Table 7). Spot contracts are contracts with a one-time uranium delivery (usually) for the entire contract, and the delivery typically occurs 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 2017, COOs signed 34 new purchase contracts with deliveries in 2017 of 4.7 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $20.82 per pound. Five of these contracts were long-term and received deliveries of 1.5 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $21.03 in 2017. The other 29 contracts were spot contracts with 3.2 million pounds U3O8e delivered at a weighted-average price of $20.72 in 2017 (Table 8).

COOs report minimum and maximum quantities of future deliveries under contract to allow for the option of either decreasing or increasing quantities. At the end of 2017, the maximum uranium deliveries for 2018 through 2027 under existing purchase contracts for COOs totaled 176 million pounds U3O8e (Table 10). Also at the end of 2017, unfilled uranium market requirements for 2018 through 2027 totaled 209 million pounds U3O8e (Table 11). These contracted deliveries and unfilled market requirements combined represent the maximum anticipated market requirements of 385 million pounds U3O8e over the 10-year period for COOs.

Uranium feed, enrichment services, uranium loaded

In 2017, COOs delivered 34 million pounds U3O8e of natural uranium feed to U.S. and foreign enrichers. Fifty-three percent of the feed was delivered to U.S. enrichment suppliers, and the remaining 47% was delivered to foreign enrichment suppliers (Table 13). Thirteen million separative work units (SWU)[2] were purchased under enrichment services contracts from 12 sellers in 2017, the same number of sellers as in 2016 (Table 16, Table 25). The average price paid by the COOs for the 13 million SWU was $125.43 per SWU in 2017, compared with the 2016 average price of $131 per SWU. In 2017, the U.S.-origin SWU share was 43%, and the foreign-origin SWU accounted for the remaining 57%. Foreign-origin SWU included 23% from Russia, 12% from the United Kingdom, 9% from the Netherlands, and 3% from Germany (Table 16).

Uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors during 2017 contained 45.5 million pounds U3O8e, compared with 41.7 million pounds U3O8e loaded during 2016. Thirteen percent of the uranium loaded during 2017 was U.S.-origin uranium, and 87% was foreign-origin uranium (Table 18).

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 42 million pounds U3O8e in 2017, and the weighted-average price was $37.09 per pound U3O8e (Table 19). Also, U.S. suppliers and COOs sold uranium to foreign suppliers. Together, foreign sales totaled 14 million pounds U3O8e in 2017, and the weighted-average price was $25.19 per pound U3O8e (Table 21).

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) were 142.7 million pounds U3O8e at the end of 2017. Commercial uranium inventories owned at the end of 2017 by COOs totaled 123.7 million pounds U3O8e, a 3% decrease in inventories from the year-end 2016 level. Uranium inventories owned by U.S. suppliers (converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers, brokers and traders) totaled 19 million pounds U3O8e at the end of 2017 (Table 22).


Footnotes

1Uranium quantities are expressed in the unit of measure U3O8e (equivalent). U3O8e is triuranium octoxide (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).

Data tables and figures

Summary
Table S1a. Uranium purchased by owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors, 1994–2017 (Table S1a and Figure S1)      
Table S1b. Weighted-average price of uranium purchased by owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors, 1994–2017 (Table S1b and Figure S2)    
Table S2. Uranium feed deliveries, enrichment services, and uranium loaded by owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors, 1994–2017 (Table S2 and Figures S3 and S4)    
Table S3a. Foreign purchases, foreign sales, and uranium inventories owned by U.S. suppliers and owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors, 1994–2017 (Table S3a and Figure S5)    
Table S3b. Weighted-average price of foreign purchases and foreign sales by U.S. suppliers and owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors, 1994–2017 (Table S3b and Figure S6)    
Uranium purchased
Table 1. by supplier (Table 1 and Figures 1 and 2)    
Table 2. by origin (Table 2 and Figures 3 and 4)    
Table 3. by origin country (Table 3 and Figure 5)    
Table 4. by origin and material type (Table 4 and Figure 6)    
Price mechanisms, distributions and contract types
Table 5. by pricing mechanisms (Table 5 and Figure 7)    
Table 6a. by price and distributed by quantity (Tables 6a)    
Table 6b. by price and distributed by purchaser (Tables 6b)    
Table 7. by contract type (Table 7)    
New purchases
Table 8. Contracts signed in 2017 (Table 8)    
Table 9. Signed in 2015, by delivery year,
2018–27 (Table 9 and Figure 8)
   
Future deliveries
Table 10. In effect at the end 2015 (Table 10 and Figure 9)    
Table 11. Unfilled requirements (Table 11 and Figure 10)    
Table 12. Maximum anticipated market requirements (Table 12 and Figure 11)   
Feed for enrichment
Table 13. by enrichment country (Table 13 and Figure 12)    
Table 14. by origin country (Table 14 and Figure 13)    
Table 15. Shipments to enrichment suppliers, 2016-25 (Table 15 and Figure 14)    
SWU
Table 16. Enrichment services by origin country (Table 16 and Figure 15)    
Table 17. Enrichment services by contract type (Table 17)    
Loaded uranium
Table 18. in fuel assemblies (Table 18 and Figure 16)    

Foreign purchases and sales

Table 19. Foreign purchases (Table 19 and Figure 17)    
Table 20. U.S. broker and trader purchases (Table 20 and Figure 18)    
Table 21. Foreign sales (Table 21 and Figure 19)    
Commercial inventories
Table 22. Natural and enriched (Table 22 and Figures 20 and 21)    
Table 23. by owner (Table 23 and Figure 22)    
Sellers
Table 24. of uranium    
Table 25. of enrichment services    

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