WASHINGTON, April 25, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Uranium Producers of America (UPA) called on the Department of Energy to cease transfers from the federal excess uranium inventory until the uranium market recovers. Despite an oversupplied market and persistent low prices, the Department of Energy continues to sell more than 5 million pounds of uranium per year – more than twice what the domestic industry is on pace to produce this year – to fund the cleanup of legacy federal nuclear facilities. The Department's actions continue to have a negative impact on the uranium market and the domestic uranium industry.
Last week, Cameco Resources, one of the largest uranium producers in the United States, announced it was cutting its production by more than 20 percent and stopping well field development, which will result in a loss of 85 jobs. This news follows similar announcements by other domestic uranium producers. According to the Energy Information Agency, U.S. uranium production in the fourth quarter 2015 was down 24 percent from the third quarter and down 46 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014. With Cameco Resources' recent announcement, U.S. uranium production in 2016 will likely fall to the lowest levels the industry has seen in more than a decade.
Harry Anthony, President of the Uranium Producers of America, said, "We can stomach the ups and downs of a commodity market, but it's harder to take when a great deal of the pressure we are facing comes from the federal government selling uranium in an already oversupplied market. While we recognize these cleanup projects are important, they should be funded in the regular appropriations process, and the Department of Energy should cease further uranium transfers until the market recovers."
Anthony added, "We already import almost 95 percent of the uranium needed to fuel our domestic nuclear reactors. Instead of competing against U.S. producers, the Department of Energy should be taking steps to help our industry and ensure our nation has a stable and secure domestic supply of uranium to meet our long-term nuclear energy needs."
SOURCE Uranium Producers of America