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Uranium Marketing Annual Report

With Data for 2018 Release Date: May 30, 2019 Next Release Date: May 2020-report full reportPDF

The y-axis on Table 12 was corrected to reflect the accurate range of years.

Uranium purchases and prices

Owners and operators of U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors (civilian owner/operators, or COOs) purchased a total of 40 million pounds U3O8e (equivalent[1]) of deliveries from U.S. suppliers and foreign suppliers during 2018, at a weighted-average price of $38.81 per pound U3O8e. The 2018 total of 40 million pounds U3O8e was 6% lower than the 2017 total of 43 million pounds U3O8e. The 2018 weighted-average price of $38.81 per pound U3O8e was virtually the same as the 2017 weighted-average price of $38.80 per pound U3O8e (Table 1).

Nearly 10% of the 40 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2018 was U.S.-origin uranium at a weighted-average price of $45.26 per pound. Foreign-origin uranium accounted for the remaining 90% of deliveries at a weighted-average price of $38.11 per pound (Table 2). Canadian-origin uranium and Australian-originan uranium together accounted for 42% of total uranium purchased by U.S. COOs in 2018. Uranium originating in Kazakhstan, Russia, and Uzbekistan accounted for 40% (Table 3).

COOs purchased three material types of uranium for 2018 deliveries from 37 sellers, one more seller than in 2017 (Table 4, Table 24). Uranium concentrate was 59% of the 40 million pounds U3O8e delivered in 2018. Enriched UF6 was 21%, and Natural UF6 was 20% (Table 4). During 2018, 16% of the uranium delivered was purchased under spot contracts at a weighted-average price of $27.51 per pound. The remaining 84% was purchased under long-term contracts at a weighted-average price of $40.99 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 at least 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 2018, COOs signed 36 new purchase contracts with deliveries in 2018 of 3.3 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $25.11 per pound. Five of these contracts were long-term and received deliveries of 0.6 million pounds U3O8e at a weighted-average price of $28.62 in 2018. The other 31 contracts were spot contracts with 3.3 million pounds U3O8e delivered at a weighted-average price of $24.48 in 2018 (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 2018, the maximum uranium deliveries for 2019 through 2028 under existing purchase contracts for COOs totaled 175 million pounds U3O8e (Table 10). Also at the end of 2018, unfilled uranium market requirements for 2019 through 2028 totaled 201 million pounds U3O8e (Table 11). These contracted deliveries and unfilled market requirements combined represent the maximum anticipated market requirements of 376 million pounds U3O8e over the next 10 years for COOs.

Uranium feed, enrichment services, uranium loaded

In 2018, COOs delivered 33 million pounds U3O8e of natural uranium feed to U.S. and foreign enrichers. Foreign enrichment suppliers received 52% of the feed, and the remaining 48% was delivered to U.S. enrichment suppliers (Table 13). Fifteen million separative work units (SWU)[2] were purchased under enrichment services contracts from 13 sellers in 2018, one more than in 2017 (Table 16, Table 25). The average price paid by the COOs for the 15 million SWU was $115.42 per SWU in 2018, compared with the 2017 average price of $125 per SWU. In 2018, the U.S.-origin SWU share was 33%, and the foreign-origin SWU accounted for the remaining 67%. Foreign-origin SWU included 23% from Russia, 19% from the Netherlands, and 10% from both the United Kingdom and from Germany, separately (Table 16).

Uranium in fuel assemblies loaded into U.S. civilian nuclear power reactors during 2018 contained 50.2 million pounds U3O8e, compared with 45.5 million pounds U3O8e loaded during 2017. During 2018, 11% of the uranium loaded during 2018 was U.S.-origin uranium, and 89% 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 41.5 million pounds U3O8e in 2018, and the weighted-average price was $35.73 per pound U3O8e (Table 19). U.S. suppliers and COOs also sold uranium to foreign suppliers. Together, foreign sales totaled 14 million pounds U3O8e in 2018, and the weighted-average price was $26.02 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 131.5 million pounds U3O8e at the end of 2018. Commercial uranium inventories owned at the end of 2018 by COOs totaled 111.6 million pounds U3O8e, a 10% decrease in inventories from the year-end 2017 level. Uranium inventories owned by U.S. suppliers (converters, enrichers, fabricators, producers, brokers and traders) totaled 19.9 million pounds U3O8e at the end of 2018 (Table 22).

Footnote

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).

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Data tables and figures

Summary

Uranium purchased

Price mechanisms, distributions and contract types

New purchases

Future deliveries

Feed for enrichment

SWU

Loaded uranium

Foreign purchases and sales

Commercial inventories

Sellers