uranium boom

Madelyn Beck/Inside Energy

  

The U.S. used to be the world’s number one uranium producer, and most of it came from Wyoming. But since the 1980s, production has fallen off a cliff. Prices are at rock bottom. That may be about to change — uranium’s biggest customer is the nuclear energy industry. In coming years, hundreds of new nuclear reactors are planned for China and India. Uranium companies in the U.S. are hoping to gear up for a boom.

Elements of the Market

Dan Boyce

  

Superfund cleanups are a priority for Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. He wants to cut through red tape that has left more than a thousand sites still contaminated with everything from radioactive waste to lead.

He also wants to remove sites that have already been cleaned up from the so-called National Priority List, which has more than 1300 sites. One of those sites is the town of Uravan.

A program that recycled Russian nuclear weapons into fuel-grade uranium has run its course, and Wyoming Mining Association Director Marion Loomis says that may leave more room in the marketplace for Wyoming’s uranium. 

US Department of Energy

Production at Lost Creek uranium facility is exceeding expectations.

Ur-Energy’s Lost Creek mine started producing uranium in early August. Less than two months into production, Vice President of Operations Steven Hatten, says the facility is functioning well above projected levels.

“Field conditions have presented themselves in a more positive light than laboratory conditions may have predicted,” Hatten says. 

Wyoming Public Radio has for years reported that the state is on the verge of a uranium boom. It turns out the state missed the peak of that boom, and is now betting on slower, more conservative growth. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.