First two countries in our ranking of countries that export the most uranium in the world account for the greatest share of all commodity shipments. According to World Nuclear Association, in 2014, 56,252 tons of uranium were produced globally, which was a 6% decrease compared to previous years. The decline in the uranium output came as a result of a price dip after Fukushima incident and shutdown of nuclear plants in the US and Europe. The greatest share of U3O8 came from Kazakhstan, Canada, and Australia, which together produced two-thirds of world’s uranium.
Growing world’s population as well as the fact that currently around 2 billion of people either don’t have or have restricted access to electricity means that the demand for energy will grow in the future. Existing 439 nuclear reactors, which are spread across 30 countries, produce enough energy to satisfy the demand of 11% of people living on the planet. Since the number of reactors will grow by more than 100 in the next ten years while existing ones are going to boost their capacity, the demand for uranium is expected to rise by 31% by 2023. Currently, the greatest share of uranium, some 90%, is obtained from mines. Other 10% are taken from stocks which have piled up in the last years due to low prices.
Russia and China have recorded the greatest growth in uranium demand. In the next few years, China plans to add 24 new nuclear reactors, while eight reactors are under the construction in Russia. To meet the growing demand, these countries have been turning to uranium-rich Africa. Like in our previous ranking of 10 countries that export the most tobacco in the world, African states dominate this list too. Despite being uranium rich, African countries do not see as much benefit as one would expect from the export that reaches the sum of a few million dollars. As you will see on this ranking, the majority of African mines is owned by foreign companies which generate profit for themselves avoiding countries’ laws, regulations and taxes.
In creating the list of countries that export the most uranium in the world we relied on Trade Map data. We ranked countries according to the biggest shipments they made between 2011 and 2015. Since Trade Map does not provide information for some countries which are known to be big uranium exporters, such as Australia, we also used official government reports.