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MINING.com

MINING.com

MINING.com is a web-based global mining publication focusing on news and commentary about mining and mineral exploration. The site is a one-stop-shop for mining industry…

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Not Just Oil: The US is also Dependent on Foreign Uranium

Not Just Oil: The US is also Dependent on Foreign Uranium

What most Americans don't realize is that dependence on foreign oil isn't the main obstacle to US energy autonomy. If you think America's energy supply issues begin and end with the Middle East, think again. One of the most critical sources of foreign energy is due to dry up this year, and the results could mean spiking electricity prices across the country.

In 2011, the US used 4,128 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. Nuclear power provided 790.2 billion kWh, or 19% of the total electrical output in the US. Few people know that one in five US households is powered by nuclear energy, and that the price of that nuclear power has been artificially stabilized. Unfortunately for us, the vast majority of the fuel used for powering our homes must be imported.

In the chart below, you see where most of our uranium comes from:

US Sources of Uranium 2011

The overwhelming majority of that Russian uranium comes from a 20-year-old agreement called "Megatons to Megawatts" that allows weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium (HEU) to be converted to reactor-grade, low-enriched uranium (LEU).

Related article: Ireland Protests New British Nuclear Plant

By December 2012, "Megatons to Megawatts" had produced 13,603 metric tons of LEU for US consumption and provided the fuel for nearly half of the US electricity generated from nuclear power.

In December 2013, that agreement expires, and Russia will be free to put its uranium out on the open market and demand higher prices. With 17 nuclear reactors in China and 20 in India – not to mention Japan, France, Germany, and others all vying for nuclear fuel – competitive bids are poised to drive prices higher, and early investors stand to make spectacular gains.

If this information is news to you, you are not alone. While the mainstream media focus on the US's "Middle Eastern energy dependence," the real story remains unnoticed. That's why Casey Research invited the field's top experts – including former US Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and Chairman Emeritus of the UK Atomic Energy Authority Lady Barbara Judge – for a frank discussion of what we think is America's greatest energy challenge.

By. Casey Research via Mining.com




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  • SA Kiteman on May 14 2013 said:
    We really should be converting as much of our energy systems to thorium as we can, as soon as we can. Liquid Fluoride Thorium Recyclers would allow us to provide ALL our energy from indigenous sources, sources that will last for thousands to millions of generations. Why are we so dense?

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