According to a recent publication from the American Chemical Society, a study performed by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Columbia University Earth Institute of New York came to the conclusion that more than 1.8 million human deaths have been prevented by world nuclear power production from 1971-2009.
On average, 76,000 deaths were prevented globally every year from 2000-2009 thanks to using nuclear power. A mean of 117,000 deaths per year were prevented alone in Germany between 1971-2009, yet Germany announced plans to shut down all reactors by 2022. The estimated human deaths caused by nuclear power from 1971-2009 are far lower than the avoided deaths. Globally, some 4,900 such deaths were calculated, or about 370 times lower than the number of avoided deaths. Around 25% of these deaths are due to occupational accidents and about 70% are due to air pollution-related effects.
“In the aftermath of the March 2011 accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, the future contribution of nuclear power to the global energy supply has become somewhat uncertain. Because nuclear power is an abundant, low-carbon source of base-load power, it could make a large contribution to mitigation of global climate change and air pollution. Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCo2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420,000-7.04 million deaths and 80-240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury, depending on which fuel it replaces. By contrast, we assess that large-scale expansion of unconstrained natural gas use would not mitigate the climate problem and would cause far more deaths than expansion of nuclear power.“ (Pushker A. Kharecha and James E. Hansen in „Prevented Mortality and Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Historical and Projected Nuclear Power“; American Chemical Society, 2013)
According to the study, the following energy sources provided for world electricity generation in the past decade (2000-2009):
Peter Zihlmann summarized well of what Marino G. Pieterse, publisher of The Uraniumletter International and one of the most respected experts on the uranium market, wrote in an article titled “Uranium – Ripe for a Recovery” for the Mining Journal on August 23, 2013:
“While France receives 75% of its electricity from nuclear energy, Belgium 51% Sweden 38%, South Korea 30%, the United States 19% and the UK 18%, China receives only 1.9% of its electricity from nuclear, India 2.2%, Brazil 3% and Russia 8%. These countries, focusing on non-greenhouse clean electricity sources, offer a strong growth potential… At this time, China is for more than 70% dependent on coal, it plans to quadruple its nuclear energy output by 2020 and triple or quadruple output again by 2030…China currently produces almost 14 GWe through its 17 reactors, which supply about 2% of the country’s electricity. It expects to produce 58-60 GWe of capacity by 2020 (28 reactors under construction), possibly 200 GWe by 2030 (171 reactors planned or projected) and 400GWe by 2050. China will need more than 27,000 tonnes (60 million pounds) U3O8 per year by 2030 compared to the US using almost 20,000 tonnes (44 million pounds) U3O8 per year to produce 99 GWe from its 100 reactors.“
Recently, Canadian analyst Derek Hamill of Zimtu Capital Corp. published a well-established research report on the uranium market analyzing supply and demand by a hair’s breadth with interesting findings. As per Hamill’s calculations, there are only 18 nuclear reactors in operation in China – very few when comparing with the rest of the world respectively with a large upward potential. And indeed, almost half of all reactors which are under construction worldwide at the moment are located in China. These 30 reactors which are set to be connected to the grid require uranium for the long haul from secure sources.
“When you subtract the approximately 70 nuclear power reactors either shut down or in the process of being shut down, mostly in Japan and Europe, there are actually about 370 power-producing nuclear reactors in the world today, consuming approximately 160 million pounds/year (160 Mlb/year) of uranium as U3O8. Another 65 reactors are actually being built today in China, in Russia, the U.A.E., Turkey, Finland, the UK and India. Now add what they say they’re planning behind that, and in 40 years there will be another approximately 370 reactors operating worldwide, the same number of reactors as is operating today. Where is that other 160 Mlb of U3O8 going to come from over the next 40 years? It has to come substantially from new mines in the Athabasca Basin in Canada, from Australia, from parts of Africa and from Utah, Colorado, Nevada and Wyoming in the U.S. It’s going to come from Mongolia and it’s going to come from other mines here and there in the Far East and in Slovakia. Uranium prices right now are definitely in a bottoming process, but as a result, the uranium mining industry has a chance to get its act together and invest in new exploration and production (E&P). We’ve got time on our side because these new uranium mines, especially in Athabasca, are long-lead items. They’re 10 years from concept and exploration through to production… Overall, I see a very good future for uranium, but we’ve got to use the time to get our act together.“ (Thomas Drolet of Drolet & Associates Energy Services Inc. in a recent interview with The Energy Report)
While demand in Japan has crashed to almost zero after the Fukushima incident, other countries like USA, France and Germany only marginally consumed less:
Meanwhile, demand from countries like Russia, China and India upswings unperturbedly:
“The planned commercial nuclear expansion in Asia, especially China, is the major growth driver of uranium demand.“ (Derek Hamill in „Canadian Uranium Exploration“)
Of all metals, uranium enjoys the best price outlook, not only in the mid- to long-term but also in the short-term as the latest price breakout demonstrates:
In our last article „Athabasca Basin – The Place To Be For The Upcoming Uranium Boom“ it is marked out why we are so bullish for uranium prices and why the Athabasca Basin is not only attractive to senior mining companies but also to investors. In a Special Report of The Uraniumletter International, Marino Pieterse gave some valuable insights about the companies active in the Athabasca Basin:
“Besides the three producing companies (i.e. Cameco, Areva and Denison Mines), there are only three exploration/development companies with a mature market capitalization (i.e. Fission Uranium, Alpha Mineralsand UEX), of which Fission and Alpha have announced an amalgamation of their