Uranium prices rise toward the highest level since the Ukraine invasion as Europe's energy crisis drives up nuclear bets

Uranium prices rise toward the highest level since the Ukraine invasion as Europe's energy crisis drives up nuclear bets
Uranium prices have soared this year as the global energy crisis drives up bets on nuclear power.Katie Walton-Day/US Geological Survey/AP
  • Uranium prices have risen to trade close to the highest level hit since Russia invaded Ukraine.
  • Europe's energy crisis is fuelling bets on nuclear power, driving up uranium demand.

Uranium prices are approaching their highest level since Russia invaded Ukraine as Europe's energy crisis encourages countries to intensify their nuclear power efforts.

Futures prices climbed 0.28% Tuesday to hover just shy of the four-month high of $53.50 a pound reached September 1, meaning that the commodity has jumped 21% year-to-date.

They rose above $50 in March for the first time since 2011, in the wake of the invasion in late February, but fell back in following months and haven't traded consistently above the key level since then.

War in Ukraine has sparked an energy crisis in Europe, with countries forced to turn to alternative fuels such as coal as Russia slashes its oil exports and cuts off natural gas flows via a key pipeline. The region is also facing a shortfall in hydropower after extreme summer heatwaves dried up reservoirs.

That's boosted demand for uranium, which is used in nuclear power-generation plants.


Germany, which was heavily reliant on gas flows from Russia through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline prior to the invasion of Ukraine, said last week it would temporarily halt the phase-out of two nuclear power plants in a bid to reduce its reliance on Moscow.

"In the winter, our towns and cities will in part be darker because of the fact we have to save electricity," German finance minister Christian Lidner said. "In this situation we should not forgo safer and climate-friendly ways of producing electricity such as nuclear power."

California lawmakers voted to keep the state's only nuclear power plant in Diablo Canyon running for another five years on September 1, while Japan has signaled its intention to consider building new plants for the first time since the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

Bank of America issued a bullish uranium call last month, noting that sanctions on Russian energy exports could drive prices up further, by over 30%.

"Bank of America forecasts uranium spot prices to rise to $70 a pound by 2023," its analysts said. "The loss of Russian supplies and the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant extension could be bullish catalysts."


The EU's ban on Russian coal took effect in August, and its embargo on the country's seaborne imports of oil and petroleum products is due to kick in on December 5.

Uranium stocks have also rallied over the past month on a perceived surge in demand. The Global X Uranium ETF has jumped 12.2% since August 13, while leading mining stock Cameco has climbed 21.3% over the same period.

Read more: Uranium stocks are soaring as Japan signals openness to more nuclear power and Elon Musk applauds the alternative energy source