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Are Nuclear Fuel Buyers Starting to Panic? Things Get Weird in the Uranium Sector

Things are getting rather weird in the nuclear energy procurement business.

With the world’s attention turning to COP28 in Dubai, nuclear energy is set to be the key focus of net-zero climate commitments moving forward. 

With nations across the globe pilling long-term investments into nuclear energy, nuclear fuel buyers for existing and soon-to-be active plants are facing a serious wake-up call.

While nuclear fuel procurement specialists and buyers have become accustomed to getting what they want with relative ease, the winds have changed dramatically.

In the last week alone, we’ve seen a major RFP or request for a proposal for uranium supply rejected.

A major South Korean PFP that went to market in September was soundly rejected by the global uranium industry, likely due to unrealistic asking prices.

Now, we understand a fuel buyer, who would typically go to the Spot market for fuel to meet immediate needs (a few months out), has instead been unable to do so – turning to an odd RFP for supply required for early 2024.

According to nuclear energy ‘influencer’ John Quakes on Twitter/X, a “non-US utility” is desperatley seking nuclear fuel for immediate delivery.

The US Nuclear fuel broker is seeking 300,000 lbs of non-Russian U308 uranium at incredibly short notice, to be delivered in the new year, January 2024.

Suppliers are being asked to quote a fixed price for two patches, one at 100,000/lb and one at 200,000/lb – according to Quakes.

Usually, such requests would be undertaken via the uranium spot market – with the handful of international fuel buyers and sellers meeting to deal.

RFPs are usually only issued by nuclear energy utilities looking to lock long-term supply contracts well out into the future. Not for just a few weeks away.

Spot transactions are contained within a 12-month period, RFPs are almost always multi-year endeavours. 

With uranium spot prices up to 16-year highs, something odd is happening in the market. 

It may be simply that there are no sellers in the spot market. $80/lb+ is just not that enticing for uranium sellers.

With more nuclear reactors coming online, including Japan restarting their idled reactors in 2024 – something big may be about to happen to the spot price. 


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