Global production of uranium increased 6% in 2010, compared with the previous year, according to the World Nuclear Association (WNA). Kazakhstan maintained its position as the leading uranium producing country.
Figures compiled by WNA show that worldwide uranium production grew from 50,772 tonnes in 2009 to 53,663 tonnes in 2010, the highest level since the early 1990s.
Kazakhstan was the largest producing country, with output of 17,803 tonnes in 2010, a 27% increase from the 14,020 tonnes it produced in 2009.
Michael Dittmar wrote a series of posts about nuclear energy that was published on The Oil Drum in 2009. In the first post of the series, he said that uranium “civilian uranium stocks are expected to be exhausted during the next few years” and “the current uranium supply situation is unsustainable”. Basically lack of uranium production from uranium mines would cause lack of nuclear fuel which would result in steadily dropping nuclear power generation. I made a series of three bets with Dittmar
1. World Uranium production (official win for 2010)
2. World Nuclear power generation bets going to 2018 (still unofficial)
3. Uranium production in Kazakhstan (official win for 2010)
I reviewed these bets at the end of 2010 when it was clear but unofficial that I had won all three bets for 2010
Michael Dittmar’s incorrect articles were also featured in an MIT Technology Review blog about arxiv articles.
Dittmar also was cited in an article in the Economist (Green View – Fuelling fears : A uranium shortage could derail plans to go nuclear to cut carbon emissions)
Reviewing The Nuclear Generation Bet Series
Dittmar won the nuclear power generation bet for 2009. He said 2575 TWH and I said 2600 TWhe
Dittmar Brian Midpoint 2009 2575 TWhe 2600 TWhe 2587.5 2010 2550 TWhe 2630 2590 2011 2550 2650 2600 2012 2550 2700 2625 2013 2525 2750 2637.5 2014 2250 2800 2525 2015 2250 2900 2575 2016 2250 3200 2725 2017 2250 3500 2875 2018 2250 3800 3025
World nuclear generation for 2010 appears to be trending to 100 tWh more than in 2009 (2558 tWh) which would put it at about 2660 tWh.
There will be 5-7 new nuclear reactors that will be completed and starting generation in 2011. There will also be about 17 reactors completed in 2012. So 24 nuclear reactors completing over 2011 and 2012 (about 20 GWe which would add about 150 TWH per year).
Japan had a 15% drop in March, 2011 versus March 2010. The Earthquake was on March 11, 2011. So Japan will see about a 20% drop in nuclear generation for 2011. Instead of generating 284 TWh (2010), Japan will generate about 230 TWh in 2011.
Uranium production volume in Kazakhstan for the 1st quarter of 2010 was 4,060 tU.
KazAtomProm reported Kazakh output during the first quarter of 2011 was 4777.4 tonnes, 7.3% above its planned production of 4724.4 tonnes and up some 24% on the same period last year.
Canada’s Cameco regained its position as the world’s largest uranium producing company, with output of 8758 tonnes in 2010, up from 8000 tonnes in 2009. The company’s production represented 16% of world uranium output in 2010. France’s Areva, which was the leading producer in 2009 with production of 8623 tonnes, reported output of 8319 tonnes in 2010, putting it in second place. It was closely followed by KazAtomProm, which produced 8116 tonnes in 2010, up from 7467 tonnes in 2009.
Cameco’s McArthur River/Key Lake mine in Canada remained the world’s largest uranium-producing mine in 2010, with output of 7654 tonnes, up from 7339 tonnes in 2009. Although its output dropped from 4444 tonnes in 2009 to 3216 tonnes in 2010, Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA’s) Ranger mine in Australia maintained its second position. Rio Tinto’s Rössing mine in Namibia was the third-largest producing mine with production of 3077 tonnes in 2010, down from 3520 tonnes in 2009.
The Kazakhstan uranium bet were as follows
The predictions and the bet is for the uranium production of the country of Kazakhstan. So not just Kazatomprom, although that is most of the production.
Again we use the World Nuclear Association numbers of uranium production when reported.
Brian Wang Dittmar Midpoint 2010 16500 tons 15000 tons 15750 tons 17,803 tonnes in 2010 2011 18000 t or more 17,999.9 tons or less 18000 tons tracking to 19500+ tons
Industries and New Technologies Vice Minister Berik Kamaliyev predicted October 12, 2010 at a cabinet session that Kazakhstan will mine 17,800 tonnes of uranium in 2010, according to newskaz.ru.
World uranium production bets for 2010 through 2018
Uranium predictions Brian Wang Dittmar midpoint 2010 56000 tons 45,000 tons 50,500 tons 53,663 tonnes 2011 60000 tons 45,000 52,500 tons 2012 64000 tons 45,000 54,500 tons 2013 68000 tons 45,000 56,500 tons 2014 72000 tons 45,000 58,500 tons 2015 76000 tons 45,000 60,500 tons 2016 80000 tons 45,000 62,500 tons 2017 84000 tons 45,000 64,500 tons 2018 88000 tons 45,000 66,500 tons
Although conventional underground and open-pit mining techniques remained the main method for uranium extraction, with 53% of output coming from via these techniques, the use of in-situ leach (ISL) technology has gained popularity. In 2009, some 36% of uranium was extracted using ISL technology, while in 2010 this figure jumped to 41%. In-situ leaching is preferred in Kazakhstan.
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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