Dear Valued Visitor,

We have noticed that you are using an ad blocker software.

Although advertisements on the web pages may degrade your experience, our business certainly depends on them and we can only keep providing you high-quality research based articles as long as we can display ads on our pages.

To view this article, you can disable your ad blocker and refresh this page or simply login.

We only allow registered users to use ad blockers. You can sign up for free by clicking here or you can login if you are already a member.

The Southern Company (SO), Exelon Corporation (EXC), Duke Energy Corp (DUK): Got Uranium?

Page 1 of 2

Nuclear has often been touted as the holy grail of U.S. energy independence. But the fuel may not be as different from Arab oil as we like to think – here’s why.

Got uranium?

Nuclear energy has the advantage of being produced anywhere. Build a plant, ship in some uranium, and it’s “lights on” for the local municipality, state, or even region. With 104 reactors spread across 31 states, nuclear provides America with 20% of its total electricity supply . Those numbers are growing, too. The Southern Company (NYSE:SO) recently shattered a 30-year stagnation in 2012 when it received construction approval for two new units scheduled to come online by 2017 .

Source: EIA.gov

The United States generates more nuclear power than any other country in the world, clocking in at almost 800 billion kilowatt-hours in 2011.

Source: EIA.gov

But therein lies the problem. Although the idea of nuclear is awfully nice (who doesn’t love baseload power plopped down wherever it’s most demanded?), the energy still needs one key ingredient to make it move: uranium.

And unfortunately for the United States, uranium isn’t always American. A new report published by the Energy Information Administration shows that just 17% of the uranium purchased by U.S. nuclear owners and operators came from within our own borders. Canada’s contribution clocks in at 24%, but things get trickier from there. If you think nuclear spells energy independence, try spelling Russia, Kazakhstan, Namibia, Uzbekistan, and Niger .

Source: EIA.gov

Nuclear generation is necessarily concentrated, and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC) alone is responsible for 20% of our nation’s nuclear energy. Its 19,000 MW fleet is literally responsible for 4% of our total electricity supply.

If that sounds crazy, taking uranium to its sources means that Russia is responsible for 2.6% of our nation’s electricity, with Kazakhstan energizing another 2.2%. With 8,450 MW of nuclear to its name, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK) produces less electricity (1.8% of total) than each of these two countries ultimately provide us in power-pulling uranium .

It ain’t cheap, either

Not only is nuclear not the independent source many claim, it’s also getting more expensive. U.S. uranium costs users $59.44 per pound, but foreign-sourced uranium is hardly a steal at $54.07. Prices skyrocketed in 2006 before tapering off during the Great Recession. As energy demand picks up again, uranium could cost an even prettier penny . In 2012 alone, rough calculations put Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC)’s uranium expenditures at $638 million, Duke Energy Corp (NYSE:DUK)’s at $282 million, and The Southern Company (NYSE:SO)’s at $233 million.

Source: EIA.gov

Page 1 of 2
Loading Comments...