What is Uranium?
Uranium is a silvery-white metallic chemical element. Most uses of uranium exploit the nuclear properties of this mineral. Uranium -235 is the only naturally occurring fissile isotope.it can be transmuted in a nuclear reactor into to fissile plutonium-239. We can also make uranium-233 from natural thorium which is important tin nuclear technology. Uranium is used in nuclear weapons but it also has some other uses.
Uranium glass is produces orange and red to lemon colored hues. It was used for shading and tinting in early photography. Uranium was discovered in 1789 by Martin Heinrich Klaproth who named it after Uranus a planet in our solar system. Eugène-Melchior Péligot was the first person to isolate the metal and in 1896 its radioactive properties were discovered. Enrico Fermi and others conducted research starting 1934 which led to the use uranium as fuel in the nuclear industry and in the bomb Little Boy dropped in World War II on the Japanese. After the war the United States and Russia became deadlocked in a cold war arms race and developed thousands of nuclear weapons that used uranium and plutonium-239 from uranium in the weapons.
In 2011 the world consumed about 178 million tons of uranium. Mines only produced about 138 million tons. Only 2/3 of the demand for uranium is being met by the supply. The US and Russians have a HEU agreement that makes up for the balance of the need. In 2013 this agreement will expire and it supplies 14% of the world’s annual Uranium needs. The consumption is expected to increase by 2020. New nuclear plants by the USA and China will further drive up the demand for Uranium.
There’s not enough uranium coming out of mines currently and this is a good time to get into uranium stocks and invest in this growth industry. There are sixty one power plants under construction and another five hundred scheduled or under proposal. Despite the Fukushima incident the UK, US, Saudi Arabia plan to bud some new reactors and China, Russia and India are still showing support for nuclear energy.
Uranium stocks have been under pressure since the disaster at Fukishima. The Global X Uranium ETF (URA) is down significantly since the disaster of Fukushima in Japan.
Since Uranium stock prices are down this is a good time to get into buying these stocks and build up your portfolio. As the supply becomes more constrained and the demand for Uranium goes up the price of these stocks is going to rise. Talk to your investment advisor about Uranium stocks as these are going to be in demand despite the volatility of the stock market. You need to invest in commodities such as uranium which will still be in demand even if the economy continues to suffer. As with any stocks you’ll want to check the market and only buy when the time is right.
List of Uranium stocks:
Cameco – CCO.TO Cameco is the bell weather stock in the uranium industry.