Thursday, August 4, 2011

Cameco sees slight decrease in uranium demand and reactors after Japan disaster

Saskatoon-based uranium giant Cameco Corporation trimmed its global uranium demand forecast today due to the Fukushima disaster. Over the next 10 years, Cameco sees a global uranium demand of 2.2 billion pounds which is down slightly from its prior forecast of 2.1 billion. Further, Cameco sees 85 net new nuclear reactors online by 2020, compared with its previous estimate of 90. The Financial Post reported today that “the relatively small decline reflects the fact that most countries are maintaining nuclear power as a key part of their energy mix despite Fukushima (though Germany is one exception).”

“We continue to expect annual global consumption to exceed annual global mine production by a significant margin over the next 10 years, a situation that has existed since about 1986,” Cameco said in a statement, adding that it expects about 270 million pounds of new uranium supply will be required to meet demand over the next decade. Its previous estimate was 320 million pounds.

Tim Gitzel, the new Cameco CEO noted that Cameco remains confident about uranium market fundamentals, and that the need for nuclear power as part of the world’s energy mix “remains as compelling as ever.”

Cameco also said the company is on track to reach production at the Cigar Lake mine in Saskatchewan by mid-2013. The Cigar Lake project has faced multiple setbacks due to flooding but is a crucial part of the company’s plan to double uranium production to 40 million pounds a year by 2018.

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