The article below gives a heads up for the outlook of a world powered by Uranium.
Many will recognise that parallel to the Peak Oil debate, the world is facing several areas where we may be facing so called “peaks”, broadly defined as where economic production of a vital substance is no longer possible.
These Peak substances include Phosphate for agriculture, Rare Earths, Lithium and possibly Cobalt. The last three are seen as vital elements for the transition to the 21st Century’s “Electron Economy”.
The Electron Economy is the outcome of the shift to a low Carbon economy, now that the Hydrogen economy has been widely dismissed and although the term hasn’t been widely used, the use of electrons/electricity to power our transport, factories etc is now underway and of course relates to the use of Uranium to produce electricity.
Around the world those opposing the building of more Nuclear reactors for electricity production use the argument that there is simply not enough uranium and that we are already approaching a peak situation, where over the next 10 years we will see demand well outstrip supply.
Peak Uranium Debate
Wed, Nov 25, 2009
When, if and have we already reached peak oil are questions that have been debated for quite sometime now. Regardless of the correct answer, nations around the globe are looking for fossil fuel alternatives that will allow them to break with their oil dependency.
Nuclear power is quickly becoming a viable option and hundreds of new nuclear facilities are planned for construction in countries like China, India, the UK, Russia and the US.
Much like the debate over peak oil, questions concerning the ability of the earth’s uranium reserves to meet the expected demand of a world gone nuclear are beginning to make waves.
Many in the overlapping uranium and nuclear industries claim the known below-ground uranium supply is enough to sustain nuclear energy production for decades upon decades. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) both report that enough uranium exists to power existing plants for another 100 years.
Although, it is conceded that huge effort and large amounts of investment on the part of the uranium mining sector will be needed if future demands are to be met.
Writing for The Business Insider, Vincent Fernando reports that in 2008 global uranium consumption surpassed production and will likely continue to do so this year and next. So, uranium miners have some catching up to do. However, “this year alone, spending on uranium exploration is down 20 per cent on 2008,” points out The Telegraph’s Rowena Mason.
As long as spot prices remain depressed, there will be little incentive for miners to invest time and money on extracting more resources.
That could prove to be a problem since the IAEA and NEA both forecast that global uranium is likely to double in the next twenty years. But, their “Red Book” publication states that the “currently identified resources are adequate to meet this expansion.”
Uranium Peak in 2013?
Some are not so optimistic about the world’s uranium supply and the ability of nuclear power to meet the energy needs of the future.
In The Future of Nuclear Energy: Facts and Fiction, Dr Michael Dittmar of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology claims that western uranium stocks will run out by 2013. According to Dr Dittmar, there exists a misconceived notion that uranium is an abundant resource.
However, a look at the comments posted on a blog referring to Dittmar’s assertions (which also go so far as to say nuclear is not a viable option for energy production and is in fact fraught with numerous difficulties) shows this topic and his ideals are quite contentious:
—”While the anti-nuke contingent in the US and in parts of Europe continues to rant about the economic infeasibility of nuclear power, France has had it working just fine for many years. When we collapse economically under the rising cost of oil, in France they will be zipping about in high-speed trains and electric cars.”
— “What a load of alarmist rubbish this article is. Australia has 1.2 million tonnes of known recoverable uranium, 23 per cent of the worlds total of 5.5 million….At a burn rate of 65,000 tonnes per annum that’s ….85 years worth!!!!!!!!!! By which time, of course, more resources will have been discovered.”
Admin AKA Sparty: What the author of this comment failed to recognise is that as far as Uranium production in Australia is concerned our prevailing political climate, land rights issues, red tape and general lassitude has led to the situation where many of our Uranium companies find that there is less sovereign risk in countries like Namibia, Zambia etc and that it will take many more years before Australia actually gets more supplies to market.
Read full article: http://www.uraniuminvestingnews.com/2462/peak-uranium-debate.html