The Economics Of Uranium And War

BY Herschel Smith
8 months, 3 weeks ago

A number of years ago, new fuel assemblies cost on the order of $750,000.  Today I suspect it’s more like $1 Million.  That’s for fairly low enrichment UO2 (5% or less), a 15×15 or 17×17 assembly.  Tomorrow’s microreactor designs will have up to 20% or even higher enrichment.

Now, the larger reactors need somewhere on the order of 70 – 80 feed assemblies to operate for a full cycle of 1.5 years.  The rest are reloaded assemblies, once- or twice-burned.  The smaller reactors won’t need quite that many.

There are still 93 operating reactors in the U.S., supplying a major portion of electricity for Americans.  If you can’t do the math yourself, this represents a staggering monetary gain for people who own the mineral rights to Uranium mines, who can get it out of the ground, and who can enrich it to the required (and future required) enrichments of U-235.

Remember that I told you this war in Ukraine was being fought over energy?

Yes, perhaps you do.  Now go and read these two articles, and when you’re finished, re-read them.  Study them.

ZeroHedge, “Uranium Stocks Soar After U.S. Signals Aid For Nuclear Power.”

Wired, “The Nuclear Reactors of the Future Have a Russia Problem.”

Now, go do what I said.  Read them again.  Don’t comment if you didn’t.  And also recall the WSJ article I previously linked when I told you this war is about energy.  I’m sure by now it’s behind a paywall, but if readers request it, I have the full commentary and I’ll put it up in another post.

Your rulers have sold you down the river, boy.  Sold you down the river, boy.  Sold you down the river.

Jimmy Carter made reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel into something usable again in reactors illegal (He wanted to be a shining beacon to the world, on what I don’t know).  We have no capability to do that today.

Hillary Clinton approved the sale of the mineral rights (Uranium) near the Malheur Preserve to Putin through a Canadian shell company called Uranium One.  She did that as secretary of state, an odd change of positions for the state department.  Right about that time, a very large donation was made to the Clinton Foundation.  That was what the standoff with the Bundy crowd was all about.  FedGov wanted the land there, so they approved a managed burn on a farm and then arrested the farmer and took his land for being “guilty” of arson.  Bundy’s crowd knew that.  Bet you didn’t hear that part of the story, did you?

We haven’t pursued nuclear in America in a very long time.  It was too woke and in vogue to fund solar power.  CEOs flocked to that because it was funded by subsidies and tax relief.  The environmentalists are getting sour on solar, and they will get even more sour when they learn about the toxicants, contaminants and other bad things in the panels and batteries necessary to make it all work (much less the huge pits necessary to dispose of them).  You’re going to see a lot of “Not in my back yard” coming up with those panels and batteries.  Electric cars are a fiction and fantasy – there isn’t enough electricity to power them all up.

We’ve waited far too long to start nuclear, and we haven’t ensured a reliable supply of Uranium to power reactors for the foreseeable future, not for the existing reactors nor the upcoming microreactors (and also consider the needs of the nuclear Navy).  I know what the articles above say about having some in reserve.  It’s price will skyrocket.  Mark my words, write it down today that I told you so.

Electricity is going to get a lot more expensive.  A lot.  Prepare now, and blame your rulers.

Oh, and one more time: This war is being fought over energy, no matter what the other pretexts are.


Comments

  1. On March 18, 2022 at 9:15 am, Dov said:

    Sir, your articles on this subject have been a real eye opener for us, and it is already a topic of discussion in our circle. Thanks for this valid perspective.

  2. On March 18, 2022 at 10:04 am, Herschel Smith said:

    While everyone is searching for a hero and putting on jerseys of their favorite world leader and grabbing pom poms to cheer somebody on, and fighting among each other because they wear a different jersey …

    The world power structure is working behind the scenes and warring over who will get to shaft you next and the most.

    Pay no attention to the men behind the curtain. Look at the fireworks, watch the circus, gaze at the spectacle.

    You like it, yes? Here, want some popcorn with that circus?

  3. On March 18, 2022 at 11:35 am, George 1 said:

    So due to our stupidity, or deliberate malfeasance, nuclear power will not be a growth industry for the foreseeable future, if ever. We are in the process of being cut off from using coal, oil and natural gas.

    Sounds like a good plan to kill millions of us by starvation and other means associated with lack of energy.

  4. On March 18, 2022 at 4:27 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    Re: “Oh, and one more time: This war is being fought over energy, no matter what the other pretexts are.”

    You are more-right than you realize, Herschel. It is a truism of geopolitics and military affairs that most wars and conflicts between nations do not arise spontaneously, as the propaganda machine would have the public believe, but rather are decided upon beforehand, and then put into action.

    The classic case in point is the Second War War. The German Blitzkrieg crossed into Poland at dawn on September 1, 1939, allegedly in response to a string of attacks upon German radio stations along the Polish-German frontier in the days before, but in actuality, Hitler and his advisors had taken the decision to invade months before. They merely lacked the pretext for doing so, a “problem” which the SS-Gestapo solved for Hitler by staging the attacks – which were false-flag ops all the way.

    The real reasons for the invasion were that Stalin and Hitler had already negotiated their respective shares of the spoils of Poland. Stalin wanted the eastern half, which had formerly been part of the Imperial Russian Empire under the czars, and Hitler wanted the Danzig Corridor, which would allow East Prussia, then separate from the rest of Germany, to again be part of the rest of the contiguous German state.

    German expansionism was driven in part by her need for “living space,” or what was termed “lebensraum,” and also by access to petroleum. The lack of internal supplies of fossil fuels are part of what drove the German invasion of the USSR in June, 1941. Hitler and his staff wanted to seize the oil fields in Romania and hence, the ones in the Caspian & Black Sea regions as well.

    As much as any explicitly military tactic or stratagem, the decision to strangle Germany’s economy through denying it energy, was arguably the largest factor in her eventual defeat by May 1945. Despite months and months of round-the-clock heavy bomber raids, German industry was still turning out prodigious numbers of weapons – jet aircraft, tanks, and much else – by war’s end, but these came to naught without petroleum with which to run them.

    And in the Pacific & Far East Theaters, historians have known for some time that Japan’s decision to strike on December 6th – 7th 1941, was driven in part by the fact that Japan purchased some eighty percent of her oil from the U.S. during the years prior to the conflict, an embargo which threatened to strangle Japan’s economy within 18-24 months. Hence Japan’s move to seize the Dutch East Indies and the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Refineries there.

    Once one strips away the patriotic jargon,flag-waving and such, hard physical reasons such as access to energy, water, food or territory almost always underlie conflicts. True, wars can be fought for ideological motives, but more often,they are waged for more tangible reasons.

  5. On March 18, 2022 at 6:35 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ H.S.

    Thank-you, by the way, for such educational articles as this one, for the non-nuclear engineers in your audience. Very interesting and informative. Few of us are privy to such inside information.

  6. On March 18, 2022 at 6:45 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    @Georgiaboy61,

    My (now deceased) professor Dr. C. Gregg Singer was famous to point out that the Pacific theater of the war was unnecessary, and FDR drove Japan into it with the embargo.

    It sure would be a whole lot better dealing with a larger, more powerful, and more militarized Japan today, that had already handled China, than the Chinese.

    As best as I can think, the last time in history where a war was fought over purely ideological and existential reasons was the Crusades.

  7. On March 18, 2022 at 10:02 pm, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Herschel S.

    Re: “My (now deceased) professor Dr. C. Gregg Singer was famous to point out that the Pacific theater of the war was unnecessary, and FDR drove Japan into it with the embargo.”

    Well, that particular subject continues to be debated within the historical community, rather fiercely at times in fact… but in contrast to my youth I now share that viewpoint to a certain extent. Perhaps not fully for reasons I won’t explain here due to length, but it seems inarguable that the Roosevelt administration made the decision that the U.S. was going to enter the war sooner or later, and given that fact, gamesmanship with Japan was not off the table.

    The decision to embargo oil sales to Japan hastened war between the U.S. and that nation, it now seems quite evident. We forced their hand, in that they were buying 80% of their oil from us, and they had nowhere else to turn.

    While the U.S. was still ostensibly neutral, President Roosevelt and then-First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill were already dealing with one another in secret, through trusted intermediaries such as William Stephenson.

    And when Neville Chamberlain was forced to resign as British Prime Minister in the wake of Dunkirk and the Fall of France in May, 1940, their cooperation grew even more-bold. The cooperation between the U.S. Navy and the British Royal Navy in the Battle of the Atlantic, for example, flatly-violated international laws concerning neutrality. The Germans protested through diplomatic channels in Sweden, Switzerland and elsewhere, as well as in the U.S. proper… but to no avail. The die had been cast.

    In brief, on the eve of the Second World War, Japan was a burgeoning world power, and her ascent from feudalism in the 1860s to modernity less than fifty years later is nothing short of miraculous, perhaps without precedent in human history up to that time. That said, the Japan of that era was an unusual and volatile blend of modern technology paired with still-feudal governance and traditions regarding relations between nations, warfare, honor and the saving of face, and other such matters.

    If the Japan of that time interests you, I highly recommend the following book…

    “Japan’s War: The Great Pacific Conflict” by Edwin P. Hoyt.

    Hoyt, an American, married a Japanese woman and lived in Japan as well as speaking the language. It is a very even-handed account of the events which led the U.S. and Japan to war against one another, and the history of the post-Meiji era as well.

    There’s another title or two, but I’ll have to dig those up for you.

  8. On March 18, 2022 at 11:08 pm, robehr orinsky said:

    The chicoms have been breaking a bottle of wine on a brand spankin’ new coal plant every ten days since 2000 or so . They have been promised the coal fields of W.Va. and Kentucky when they divide up the USA .

  9. On March 19, 2022 at 1:14 am, Dan said:

    Everything is going to get a lot more expensive. All part of the plan. Never forget. The criminals in power hate you and want you dead. They will drive costs for everything up so that the average person freezes to death, starves, becomes homeless or simply gives up and commits suicide. It’s PART OF THE PLAN. Their goal is the murder of about 90% of the worlds population. And they intend to start with us uppity Americans. And unless stopped and stopped WITH PREJUDICE, they will succeed.

  10. On March 19, 2022 at 7:20 am, Joe Blow said:

    Got a chunk of money in UROY. Its still cheap if you’re looking for 401k ideas.

  11. On March 19, 2022 at 9:00 am, BRVTVS said:

    And I see the Federal Government is shutting a nuclear plant down because of global warming: https://areaocho.com/yanking-licenses/

  12. On March 20, 2022 at 11:50 am, Georgiaboy61 said:

    @ Dan

    Re:”Everything is going to get a lot more expensive. All part of the plan. Never forget. The criminals in power hate you and want you dead. They will drive costs for everything up so that the average person freezes to death, starves, becomes homeless or simply gives up and commits suicide. It’s PART OF THE PLAN.”

    Yep, well-said and every word you wrote is true. So, poke a finger in their eyes by surviving and even thriving. As Patton said, you don’t win by dying for your country or your cause; you win by making the other guy do that…. or in this case, surviving for a just cause and the perpetuation of our civilization.

  13. On March 25, 2022 at 9:35 am, BRVTVS said:

    And now Biden is trying to divert even more Uranium to Russia: https://www.foxnews.com/world/biden-administration-russia-iran-excess-enriched-uranium-new-nuclear-deal

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This article is filed under the category(s) Nuclear,Politics and was published March 17th, 2022 by Herschel Smith.

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