Dear Reader,A seismic shift is underway in America. It’s a realignment of the world’s power structure that will unfold around the world. You’re probably already aware of it, but just can’t quite put your finger on the problem, or the solution. It’s about who has – and will have – actual power… and who doesn’t. Everyone is talking about wind, solar, and electric cars. But the dark horse of the energy race is something we’ve known about for centuries yet misunderstood just as long. Little did German chemist Martin Klaproth know, while tucked away in a dimly lit lab in 1789, that he’d discover the commodity that would be the key element to the world’s biggest power struggle when he stumbled upon a curious element. If he were alive today, he’d be shocked that this “curiosity” would go on to shape wars, fuel the most catastrophic weapons, and yes, revolutionize clean energy. Uranium is feared and misunderstood yet holds an almost otherworldly ability for both destruction and creation. Could the unthinkable happen in the US by 2030? Could America be crippled from a catastrophic shortage of efficient, stable, baseload power? It’s a problem the top 0.01% are well aware of and doing something about. You might not know this (Katusa subscribers do as we’ve written about this for years), but Bill Gates has become a cornerstone investor in the next generation of nuclear reactors. Many silicon valley investors are following suit, like Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT, Peter Thiel and even Jeff Bezos. Venture capitalist Marc Andreessen even called for “1,000 new state-of-the-art nuclear power plants in the U.S. and Europe, right now.” Do you think big tech would put significant money if they didn’t believe in the long-term profit thesis and potential of nuclear energy? Of course not.
If it Bleeds, it Leads…
The Three Mile Island incident cast major doubts on the nuclear industry. And then Fukushima in 2011 all but turned out the lights for nuclear power, causing the price of uranium and the uranium companies’ stock prices to fall hard. The public tuned out of nuclear.And as expected, if it wasn’t popular, the politicians would avoid nuclear as well. Even though it provides almost 20% of America’s baseload electricity. But that all changed when America and Europe were hit with continuous rolling blackouts and baseload power problems. Places like Texas, California, and even Germany and Japan felt the blackout blues. And the Texas grid was strained to the maximum again this week. In early 2021, amidst historic power shortages, Japan’s Energy Minister finally reversed course on the nuclear-free policy. “Nuclear power will be indispensable,” he said. A year later, the Prime Minister of Japan called for the “maximum use” of nuclear. And he ordered the government to restart idled nuclear plants at an accelerated rate. Out of Japan’s 36 operable nuclear reactors, 10 have already been restarted. Sixteen more are slated to be restarted by the end of 2023, and two new reactors will be brought online.
The Harmony Project – Carbon Free Electricity
Accelerating the nuclear U-turn was The Harmony Project, a global initiative by the World Nuclear Association (WNA) to ensure that nuclear energy plays a vital role in achieving the goal of a decarbonized energy mix by mid-century.The main target of the Harmony Project is for nuclear energy to provide at least 25% of global electricity by 2050. This means the construction of approximately 1,000 gigawatts (GW) of new nuclear capacity or about 1,000 nuclear plants. Right now, 1 in 5 homes in the USA are powered by nuclear and government officials want that much, much higher for several reasons.
- Emission Killer: Unlike fossil fuels, nuclear reactors produce zero greenhouse gases during operation. In 2020 alone, U.S. nuclear power plants avoided emitting 471 million metric tons of greenhouse gas. That’s like taking 100 million cars off the road.
- Energy Density Like You’ve Never Seen: One uranium fuel pellet creates as much energy as one ton of coal, 149 gallons of oil or 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas.
- The Baseload Powerhouse: Your favorite renewables? They’re fair-weather friends. The wind stops, and wind energy collapses. Clouds roll in, and solar is out of commission. Nuclear is the 24/7, rock-solid, Herculean energy provider the world desperately needs.
Nuclear power has the lowest land-use of any electricity production source, generating the most electrical capacity per acre.You could add up EVERY single other power source, then multiply by 3, and nuclear power is still in first place for land use efficiency. You can’t say the same about hydro, or wind, or solar.
The Great Nuclear Race: China and Russia
If you’re still thinking the West controls the future of nuclear energy, you need to shift your gaze eastward.Two countries are moving at the speed of light to keep their lights on. About 67% of new nuclear reactors to be completed by 2030 are from China or Russia. In fact, China alone has:
- 24 reactors under construction
- 44 reactors planned
- 154 reactors proposed
China has more reactors planned than almost every single other country, combined. Of the nuclear reactors that started construction since 2017, 87% were designed by either China or Russia.Russia’s state-owned Rosatom has $133 billion in reactor export orders—more than fifty reactors in nineteen countries. China is planning to export thirty of its reactors by 2030, netting it $390 billion. The U.S.? Zero. China’s plan to increase its nuclear capacity from 51 GW to 150 GW by 2030 will alone hike up global uranium demand by 33% annually. Let’s add India, with its nine new reactors, Japan’s reinvigorated nuclear program, and France’s ambition to build 14 new reactors to the equation. In total, we’re staring down the barrel of 90 new reactors and 300 more on the drawing board. Uranium is to nuclear energy what oil is to fossil fuels: indispensable. But here’s the twist. Extracting uranium is a geopolitical and bureaucratic nightmare. Worse still, secondary supplies—the leftovers, the safety nets—are running dry. The “Megatons to Megawatts” program that once saved us? It’s history. Do you really think Putin will get rid of his nuclear arsenal and down-blend the uranium in the nuclear warheads to provide cheap power to the United States and Western Europe? But wait, there’s more… Recently, Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin, after meetings in Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, cemented a “no-limits” friendship, essentially agreeing to take control of global uranium supply. These nations now control a staggering 74% of global uranium, leaving Western countries, including the United States, in a vulnerable position.
American Power Crossroads
On one side lies the promise of a clean, limitless energy future and a potentially lucrative investment opportunity.On the other, the ghosts of nuclear disasters past and the labyrinth of geopolitical issues loom large. It’s a high risk, high reward, and the clock is ticking. Here’s the harsh truth: Investments in new mines have fallen off a cliff and there hasn’t been a major new mine put into production for many years. Uranium mine development takes a minimum of 15 years, and let’s not even talk about milling, converting, enriching, and fabrication. Translation: The supply and demand gap is locked in until 2030. No turning back. The nightmare scenario is unfolding. As the old adage goes, “Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” This is the Unthinkable Energy Crisis, and it’s unfolding before our very eyes. It’s not about “if” anymore; it’s about “when.” Regards, Marin Katusa P.S. You probably want to avoid investing in uranium where there is a French Embassy present. 😉
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