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Uranium: The Fuel for Clean Energy

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The following content is sponsored by the Skyharbour Resources

Uranium: The Fuel for Clean Energy

Global demand for electricity is set to grow around 50% by 2040.

As the only energy source of low-carbon, scalable, reliable, and affordable electricity, nuclear is set to play a prominent role in meeting this growing demand while satisfying decarbonization objectives globally.

In this infographic from Skyharbour Resources, we take a closer look at how uranium is shaping the future of energy.

Nuclear Power to Backstop Clean Energy Transition

Nuclear is considered an important source of clean energy, being the second largest source of low-carbon electricity in the world behind hydropower.

Nuclear power plants produce no greenhouse gas emissions during operation, and over the course of their life cycle, they produce about the same amount of carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions per unit of electricity as wind, and one-third of the emissions per unit of electricity when compared with solar.

Nuclear fuel is extremely dense and generates minimal waste. All of the used nuclear fuel produced by the U.S. over the last 60 years could fit on a football field at a depth of fewer than 10 yards.

To power up reactors, uranium demand is expected to rise โˆผ160% over the next decades.

Several countries are going nuclear in a bid to reduce reliance on fossil fuels while building reliable energy grids. Not many, however, have uranium deposits that are economically recoverable.

CountryTonnes of UraniumResource Percentage
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia1,692,70028%
๐Ÿ‡ฐ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Kazakhstan906,80015%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada564,9009%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡บ Russia486,0008%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Namibia448,3007%
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa320,9005%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ท Brazil276,8005%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ช Niger276,4004%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ China248,9004%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ณ Mongolia143,5002%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Uzbekistan132,3002%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ukraine108,7002%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ผ Botswana87,2001%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ฟ Tanzania58,2001%
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ด Jordan52,5001%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ USA47,9001%
Other295,8005%
๐ŸŒ World total6,147,800100%

Canada has the world’s largest deposits of high-grade uranium with grades of up to 20% uranium.

The Highest-Grade Uranium Deposits in the World

Canadaโ€™s Athabasca Basin region in Saskatchewan and Alberta has the highest-grade uranium deposits in the world, with grades that are 10 to 100 times greater than the average grade of deposits elsewhere.

Uranium was first discovered in the Athabasca Basin in 1934, and today the region remains a major hot spot for uranium exploration.

Besides hosting the richest uranium grades in the world, the region is a top-tier mining jurisdiction, with the best practices for environmental protection.

In recent years, a number of junior uranium companies have made exciting new discoveries in the basin, with Skyharbour Resources among them. The company holds an extensive portfolio of fifteen uranium exploration projects, ten of which are drill-ready, covering 450,000 hectares of mineral claims.

Skyharbour Resources is becoming an industry leader in high-grade Canadian uranium exploration needed for nuclear power and clean energy.

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Energy Shift

Mapped: Nuclear Reactors in the U.S.

America has 92 reactors in operation, providing about 20% of the country’s electricity.

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Nuclear Reactors in the U.S.

Mapped: Nuclear Reactors in the U.S.

The United States is the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, representing more than 30% of the world’s nuclear power generation.

America has 92 reactors in operation, providing about 20% of the country’s electricity.

The above infographic uses data from the International Atomic Energy Agency to showcase every single nuclear reactor in America.

Nuclear Development

Nuclear power in the U.S. dates back to the 1950s.

George Westinghouse produced the first commercial pressurized water reactor in 1957 in Shippingport, Pennsylvania. The technology is used in approximately half of the 450 nuclear power reactors worldwide.

Today, over 30 different power companies across 30 states operate nuclear facilities in the U.S., and most nuclear power reactors are located east of the Mississippi River.

Illinois has more reactors than any state, with 11 reactors and the largest total nuclear electricity generation capacity at about 11,582 megawatts (MW). Meanwhile, the largest reactor is at the Grand Gulf Nuclear Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi, with a capacity of about 1,500 MW.

Most American reactors in operation were built between 1967 and 1990. Until 2013 there had been no new constructions started since 1977, according to the World Nuclear Association.

Usually, U.S. power reactors receive a license to operate for 60 years. The oldest operating reactor, Nine Mile Point Unit 1 in New York, began commercial operation in December 1969. The newest reactor to enter service, Watts Bar Unit 2, came online in 2016.

The Future of Nuclear Power in the U.S.

U.S. nuclear power’s capacity peaked in 2012 at about 102,000 MW, with 104 operating nuclear reactors operating.

US nuclear generation and capacity

Since nuclear plants generate nearly 20% of U.S. electricity and about half of the country’s carbonโ€free electricity, the recent push from the Biden administration to reduce fossil fuels and increase clean energy will require significant new nuclear capacity.

Today, there are two new reactors under construction (Vogtle 3 and 4) in Georgia, expected to come online before 2023.

Furthermore, some of the Inflation Reduction Act provisions include incentives for the nuclear industry. Starting in 2024, for example, utilities will be able to get a credit of $15 per megawatt-hour for electricity produced by existing nuclear plants. Nuclear infrastructure projects could also be eligible for up to $250 billion worth of loans to update, repurpose, and revitalize energy infrastructure that has stopped working.

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Energy Shift

What is the Cost of Europeโ€™s Energy Crisis?

As European gas prices soar, countries are introducing policies to try and curb the energy crisis.

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What is the Cost of Europeโ€™s Energy Crisis?

Europe is scrambling to cut its reliance on Russian fossil fuels.

As European gas prices soar eight times their 10-year average, countries are introducing policies to curb the impact of rising prices on households and businesses. These include everything from the cost of living subsidies to wholesale price regulation. Overall, funding for such initiatives has reached $276 billion as of August.

With the continent thrown into uncertainty, the above chart shows allocated funding by country in response to the energy crisis.

The Energy Crisis, In Numbers

Using data from Bruegel, the below table reflects spending on national policies, regulation, and subsidies in response to the energy crisis for select European countries between September 2021 and July 2022. All figures in U.S. dollars.

CountryAllocated Funding Percentage of GDPHousehold Energy Spending,
Average Percentage
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany$60.2B1.7%9.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy$49.5B2.8%10.3%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France$44.7B1.8%8.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง U.K.$37.9B1.4%11.3%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain$27.3B2.3%8.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Austria$9.1B2.3%8.9%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland$7.6B1.3%12.9%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ท Greece$6.8B3.7%9.9%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands$6.2B0.7%8.6%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Czech Republic$5.9B2.5%16.1%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium$4.1B0.8%8.2%
๐Ÿ‡ท๐Ÿ‡ด Romania$3.8B1.6%12.5%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡น Lithuania$2.0B3.6%10.0%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden$1.9B0.4%9.2%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Finland$1.2B0.5%6.1%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Slovakia$1.0B1.0%14.0%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ช Ireland$1.0B0.2%9.2%
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ฌ Bulgaria$0.8B1.2%11.2%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡บ Luxembourg$0.8B1.1%n/a
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡ท Croatia$0.6B1.1%14.3%
๐Ÿ‡ฑ๐Ÿ‡ป Lativia$0.5B1.4%11.6%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ฐ Denmark$0.5B0.1%8.2%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฎ Slovenia$0.3B0.5%10.4%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡น Malta$0.2B1.4%n/a
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ช Estonia$0.2B0.8%10.9%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡พ Cyprus$0.1B0.7%n/a

Source: Bruegel, IMF. Euro and pound sterling exchange rates to U.S. dollar as of August 25, 2022.

Germany is spending over $60 billion to combat rising energy prices. Key measures include a $300 one-off energy allowance for workers, in addition to $147 million in funding for low-income families. Still, energy costs are forecasted to increase by an additional $500 this year for households.

In Italy, workers and pensioners will receive a $200 cost of living bonus. Additional measures, such as tax credits for industries with high energy usage were introduced, including a $800 million fund for the automotive sector.

With energy bills predicted to increase three-fold over the winter, households in the U.K. will receive a $477 subsidy in the winter to help cover electricity costs.

Meanwhile, many Eastern European countriesโ€”whose households spend a higher percentage of their income on energy costsโ€” are spending more on the energy crisis as a percentage of GDP. Greece is spending the highest, at 3.7% of GDP.

Utility Bailouts

Energy crisis spending is also extending to massive utility bailouts.

Uniper, a German utility firm, received $15 billion in support, with the government acquiring a 30% stake in the company. It is one of the largest bailouts in the countryโ€™s history. Since the initial bailout, Uniper has requested an additional $4 billion in funding.

Not only that, Wien Energie, Austriaโ€™s largest energy company, received a โ‚ฌ2 billion line of credit as electricity prices have skyrocketed.

Deepening Crisis

Is this the tip of the iceberg? To offset the impact of high gas prices, European ministers are discussing even more tools throughout September in response to a threatening energy crisis.

To reign in the impact of high gas prices on the price of power, European leaders are considering a price ceiling on Russian gas imports and temporary price caps on gas used for generating electricity, among others.

Price caps on renewables and nuclear were also suggested.

Given the depth of the situation, the chief executive of Shell said that the energy crisis in Europe would extend beyond this winter, if not for several years.

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