Bets on clean energy and economic rebound drive yellowcake prices to their highest level since 2014
Nuclear power companies are facing competition for supplies of uranium from financial investors, who are betting on sharply higher prices and demand for the radioactive material used to fuel reactors. The price of raw uranium, known as yellowcake, has risen to its highest level since 2014, driven by a newly launched investment trust run by Canadian asset manager Sprott. Investors are betting that nuclear power will be a key part of the move away from fossil fuels and that a lack of new uranium mines will mean the price has to move higher. The Sprott Physical Uranium Trust has snapped up about 6m pounds of physical uranium, worth about $240m, since launching on July 19, helping to push uranium prices to more than $40 per pound, up from $30 at the start of the year. Global mine supply is expected to be about 125m pounds in 2021. Its aggressive buying will put pressure on utilities that need to secure supplies of the commodity for electricity generation. It also comes as China is planning a big increase to its nuclear power capacity over the next decade. Added to the holdings of a fund it acquired, Sprott currently holds 24m pounds of uranium, worth about $1bn, in the form of yellowcake.