Yellowcake is back on investor radars as governments around the world earnestly look at nuclear energy as a crucial part of the clean energy transition.

Uranium has vastly outperformed the commodity cohort in 2023, rising from $49/lb to US$70/lb as buyers scrape the barrel of rapidly diminishing inventories.

The World Nuclear Association (WNA) and uranium specialists Ux Consulting agreed that much more will be needed to meet demand in the next 10-20 years.

According to the WNA, demand from nuclear power plants alone will almost double by 2040.

Nuclear power provides large quantities of stable, baseload energy to grids on a continuous basis and emits less CO2 than wind and solar – almost nothing.

A recent JMM Investor Relations-hosted Nuclear Energy Forum webinar asked key ASX-listed uranium chiefs for their thoughts on the state of play in the uranium sector, what boxes projects need to tick, and why nuclear energy has come to the fore in recent months.

Tribeca Investment Partners portfolio manager Guy Keller says while decarbonization is important, the most relevant driver for nuclear and uranium demand is energy security and government changes to policies that have brought forward commercial decisions.

“There are 32 nations currently producing nuclear electricity,” he says.

“Almost all of those have now made decisions to keep their nuclear fleets running to extend the operational lives of those nuclear reactors, to build new gigawatt-scale technologies, and also to invest in the new technology around small modular reactors and microreactors as to how to bring those to the grids.

“When you look at the demand equation, nuclear uranium is actually one of the easiest commodities out there, because most of the existing demand is already built.”


Nuclear key for reliable clean energy: Basin

Basin Energy (ASX:BSN) is a uranium exploration and development company with an interest in three highly prospective projects in the southeast corner and margins of world-renowned uranium hotspot, the Athabasca Basin in Canada.

It recently completed a review of both its Marshall and North Millennium projects and is continuing exploration efforts at its flagship Geikie project – where recent drill assays returned 0.27% U3O8.

The company is upbeat about its future and the rising uranium price. Managing director Pete Moorhouse says that fundamentally, the prevailing sentiment towards nuclear is being driven by the need for clean baseload power.

“While we’ve seen some fantastic advances in renewables and energy storage technologies, these don’t come without some significant challenges,” he says.

“As the world tries to meet these emissions targets and integrates renewables, it’s fundamental to policymakers that countries can continue to provide safe, reliable baseload power.

“It comes down to energy security. The last thing you can afford is for your constituents to hit the light switch and be subject to rolling blackouts or brownouts.

“So that’s why we’re seeing numerous governments around the world really focusing on nuclear as being a fundamental element or component to their energy mix.”



Uranium sentiment uplift has been ‘swift’: Elevate

Elevate Uranium (ASX:EL8) has significant resources in Namibia and Australia. In Namibia, its uranium holdings amount to 81Mlbs at the Koppies and Marenica projects and in Australia, it owns or has interests in 48Mlbs of high-grade U3O8.

EL8 is currently undertaking extensive exploration drilling at its tenure in Namibia not far from Rossing – one of the longest continually operating uranium mines in the world.

Managing director Murray Hill says Namibia is a very stable and accessible mining jurisdiction that has long been accommodating to uranium projects and foreign investment.

Hill says the sentiment and swing from the market back to uranium has been swift.

“Two years ago, I was ringing brokers that didn’t want to take my call – and in the last three weeks they’ve been the ones ringing me,” he says.

“Investors are realising that the supply and demand issues, climate goals and political landscape has created an environment which is going to be fantastic for investment and for us.”

“We’re looking forward to enormous growth over the coming year and by leveraging buoyant uranium prices we aim to continue exploration and development of our assets.”



Buyers will look to Australia for supply: Cauldron

Cauldron Energy (ASX: CXU) has a diversified portfolio of projects in Australia and has achieved exploration success at its Yanrey uranium project which hosts the Bennet Well deposit with a global resource of 38.9Mt @ 360ppm U3O8.

Chief exec Jonathan Fisher says achieving projected increased production and capacity will require the West’s nuclear leaders – the US and Europe — to look toward like-minded countries like Australia to ‘bulletproof’ their nuclear energy supply.

“Over the next cycles, I do expect that you’ll see a concerted effort to ‘westernise’ a lot of the value chain in a way that the US has sort of done with critical minerals and looked to Australia for supply – I expect that will flow to uranium too,” Fisher says.

“In Australia we are actually talking to the minerals council to put in a submission for uranium to be viewed by the government as a critical element in the same way.”



At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While Basin Energy and Elevate Uranium are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.