Uranium

Uranium

Uranium Jonathan Poland

The 1789 discovery of uranium is credited to Martin Klaproth, who named the new element after the recently discovered planet Uranus and its radioactive properties were discovered in 1896 by Henri Becquerel. Research by Otto Hahn, Lise Meitner, Enrico Fermi and J. Robert Oppenheimer beginning in 1934 led to its use as a fuel in the nuclear power industry and in the first nuclear weapon used in war.

As for the uranium market, like all commodity markets, it has a history of volatility, moving with the standard forces of supply and demand as well as geopolitical pressures. It has also evolved particularities of its own in response to the unique nature and use of uranium. Historically, uranium has been mined in countries willing to export, including Australia and Canada. However, countries now responsible for more than 50% of the world’s uranium production include Kazakhstan, Namibia, Niger, and Uzbekistan.

Uranium from mining is used almost entirely as fuel for nuclear power plants. However, following the 2011 nuclear disaster at Fukushima, the global uranium market remains depressed, with uranium prices falling more than 50%, declining share values, and reduced profitability of uranium producers since March of that year. As a result, uranium companies worldwide have reduced capacity, closed operations and deferred new production.

Industry’s Top Companies:

  • Cameco Corp
  • NexGen Energy
  • Uranium Energy
  • Energy Fuels
  • Denison Mines
  • Centrus Energy
  • Ur-Energy
  • Uranium Royalty

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