Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. TESLA! Cathy Wood ARK Funds Bubble BURSTS! - 12th May 21
2.Stock Market Entering Early Summer Correction Trend Forecast - 10th May 21
3.GOLD GDX, HUI Stocks - Will Paradise Turn into a Dystopia? - 11th May 21
4.Crypto Bubble Bursts! Nicehash Suspends Coinbase Withdrawals, Bitcoin, Ethereum Bear Market Begins - 16th May 21
5.Crypto Bubble BURSTS! BTC, ETH, XRP CRASH! NiceHash Seizes Funds on Account Halting ALL Withdrawals! - 19th May 21
6.Cathy Wood Ark Invest Funds Bubble BURSTS! ARKK, ARKG, Tesla Entering Severe Bear Market - 13th May 21
7.Stock Market - Should You Be In Cash Right Now? - 17th May 21
8.Gold to Benefit from Mounting US Debt Pile - 14th May 21
9.Coronavius Covid-19 in Italy in August 2019! - 13th May 21
10.How to Invest in HIGH RISK Tech Stocks for 2021 and Beyond - Part 2 of 2 - 18th May 21
Last 7 days
Overclockers UK Custom Built PC 1 YEAR Use Review Verdict - Does it Still Work? - 16th Oct 21
Altonville Mine Tours Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 16th Oct 21
How to Protect Your Self From a Stock Market CRASH / Bear Market? - 14th Oct 21
The Only way to Crush Inflation (not stocks) - 14th Oct 21
Why "Losses Are the Norm" in the Stock Market - 14th Oct 21
Sub Species Castle Maze at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 14th Oct 21
Which Wallet is Best for Storing NFTs? - 14th Oct 21
Ailing UK Pound Has Global Effects - 14th Oct 21
How to Get 6 Years Life Out of Your Overclocked PC System, Optimum GPU, CPU and MB Performance - 13th Oct 21
The Demand Shock of 2022 - 12th Oct 21
4 Reasons Why NFTs Could Be The Future - 12th Oct 21
Crimex Silver: Murder Most Foul - 12th Oct 21
Bitcoin Rockets In Preparation For Liftoff To $100,000 - 12th Oct 21
INTEL Tech Stock to the MOON! INTC 2000 vs 2021 Market Bubble WARNING - 11th Oct 21
AI Stocks Portfolio Buying and Selling Levels Going Into Market Correction - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Wall of Worry Meets NFPs - 11th Oct 21
Stock Market Intermediate Correction Continues - 11th Oct 21
China / US Stock Markets Divergence - 10th Oct 21
Can US Save Taiwan From China? Taiwan Strait Naval Battle - PLA vs 7th Fleet War Game Simulation - 10th Oct 21
Gold Price Outlook: The Inflation Chasm Between Europe and the US - 10th Oct 21
US Real Estate ETFs React To Rising Housing Market Mortgage Interest Rates - 10th Oct 21
US China War over Taiwan Simulation 2021, Invasion Forecast - Who Will Win? - 9th Oct 21
When Will the Fed Taper? - 9th Oct 21
Dancing with Ghouls and Ghosts at Alton Towers Scarefest 2021 - 9th Oct 21
Stock Market FOMO Going into Crash Season - 8th Oct 21
Scan Computers - Custom Build PC 6 Months Later, Reliability, Issues, Quality of Tech Support Review - 8th Oct 21
Gold and Silver: Your Financial Main Battle Tanks - 8th Oct 21
How to handle the “Twin Crises” Evergrande and Debt Ceiling Threatening Stocks - 8th Oct 21
Why a Peak in US Home Prices May Be Approaching - 8th Oct 21
Alton Towers Scarefest is BACK! Post Pandemic Frights Begin, What it's Like to Enter Scarefest 2021 - 8th Oct 21
AJ Bell vs II Interactive Investor - Which Platform is Best for Buying US FAANG Stocks UK Investing - 7th Oct 21
Gold: Evergrande Investors' Savior - 7th Oct 21
Here's What Really Sets Interest Rates (Not Central Banks) - 7th Oct 21
CISCO 2020 Dot com Bubble Stock vs 2021 Bubble Tech Stocks Warning Analysis - 6th Oct 21
Precious Metals Complex Searching for a Bottom - 6th Oct 21
FB, AMZN, NFLX, GOOG, AAPL and FANG+ '5 Waves' Speaks Volumes - 6th Oct 21
Budgies Flying Ability 10 Weeks After wings Clipped, Flight Feathers Cut Grow Back - 6th Oct 21
Why Silver Price Could Crash by 20%! - 5th Oct 21
Will China's Crackdown Send Bitcoin's Price Tumbling? - 5th Oct 21
Natural Gas News: Europe Lacks Supply, So It Turns to Asia - 5th Oct 21
Stock Market Correction: One More Spark to Light the Fire? - 5th Oct 21
Fractal Design Meshify S2, Best PC Case Review, Build Quality, Airflow etc. - 5th Oct 21
Chasing Value with Five More Biotech Stocks for the Long-run - 4th Oct 21
Gold’s Century - While stocks dominated headlines, gold quietly performed - 4th Oct 21
NASDAQ Stock Market Head-n-Shoulders Warns Of Market Weakness – Critical Topping Pattern - 4th Oct 21
US Dollar on plan, attended by the Gold/Silver ratio - 4th Oct 21
Aptorum Group - APM - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 3rd Oct 21
US Close to Hitting the Debt Ceiling: Gold Doesn’t Care - 3rd Oct 21
Powell: Inflation Might Not Be Transitory, After All - 3rd Oct 21
Original Oculus VR HeadSet Rift Dev Kit v1 Before Facebook Bought Oculus - 3rd Oct 21
Microsoft Stock Valuation 2021 vs 2000 Bubble - Buy Sell or Hold Invest Analysis - 1st Oct 21
How to profit off the Acquisition spree in Fintech Stocks - 1st Oct 21
�� Halloween 2021 TESCO Shopping Before the Next Big Panic Buying! �� - 1st Oct 2
The Guide to Building a Design Portfolio Online - 1st Oct 21
BioDelivery Sciences International - BDSI - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 30th Sep 21
America’s Revolving-Door Politics Behind the Fall of US-Sino Ties - 30th Sep 21
Dovish to Hawkish Fed: Sounds Bearish for Gold - 30th Sep 21
Stock Market Gauntlet to the Fed - 30th Sep 21
Should you include ESG investments in your portfolio? - 30th Sep 21
Takeda - TAK - High RIsk Biotech Stocks Buy, Sell, Hold Investing Analysis for the Long-run - 29th Sep 21
Stock Market Wishing Away Inflation - 29th Sep 21
Why Workers Are NOT Returning to Work as Lockdown's End - Wage Slaves Rebellion - 29th Sep 21
UK Fuel PANIC! Fighting at the Petrol Pumps! As Lemmings Create a New Crisis - 29th Sep 21
Gold Could See Tapering as Soon as November! - 29th Sep 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

How to Protect your Wealth by Investing in AI Tech Stocks

Uranium Boom Part II

Commodities / Uranium Jun 15, 2007 - 12:50 AM GMT

By: Elliot_H_Gue

Commodities Charles Steen was born in Caddo, Texas in 1919. He went on to study at John Tarleton Agricultural College in Stephenville and in 1940 transferred to the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy at El Paso, receiving a bachelor's degree in geology in 1943. Ineligible for the draft because of his poor eyesight, Steen spent World War II working as a geologist in Bolivia and Peru. Returning to the US in 1945, he married and took a job doing field work for the Standard Oil Company of Indiana .


Down on his luck after losing his job, Steen read an article in the December 1949 issue of the Engineering and Mining Journal which discussed how the US federal government had issued incentives for prospectors to locate domestic supplies of uranium.

As part of the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, the US Atomic Energy Commission had the authority to withdraw lands from the private sector in order to examine them as possible sites for uranium mining. During World War II, the Manhattan Project received most of its uranium from foreign sources in Canada and the Belgian Congo.

However, it also received some from vanadium miners in the American Southwest where uranium was often a by-product of mining (before the first use of the atomic bomb, uranium wasn't seen as a terribly valuable metal).

As the Soviet Union was reportedly seizing uranium mines in Czechoslovakia and East Germany at the beginning of the Cold War and running them with slave labor consisting of political prisoners, there was anxiety throughout the federal government that the US wouldn't have enough uranium for its budding nuclear weapons program. A domestic supply of uranium would enable the government to maintain a nuclear self-sufficiency with control of all aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.

Despite the fact that his three sons were all less than four-years-old, and his wife was expecting a fourth child, Steen borrowed $1,000 from his mother and headed for the Colorado Plateau determined to strike it rich. He couldn't afford the standard equipment used by uranium prospectors such as the Geiger counter, which could detect sources of radiation in ore. Instead, he used a secondhand diamond drill rig and his geologic training for his prospecting.

At the time, each individual prospector had his own idiosyncratic theory on where to find uranium. The uranium industry was composed primarily of individual prospectors and geologists who would attempt to find a large claim and either mine it for themselves or for a large company (such as Union Carbide ) which would then transport the ore from the mine to the uranium mill where it could be converted into yellowcake. Steen's theory on uranium deposits was that they would collect in anticlinal structures in the same manner as would oil. Others on the Plateau dismissed the theory as "Steen's folly."

After Steen's fourth child was born, he moved his family into a small trailer at Dove Creek, Colorado, and then later into a tarpaper shack near Cisco, Utah. He fed them on poached venison and cereal--it was a highly marginalized state of existence that lasted for two years. But on July 6, 1952, Steen hit it big--he found a massive, relatively highly-enriched uranium deposit in the Big Indian Wash of Lisbon Valley, southeast of Moab, Utah. He named it the "Mi Vida" mine (My Life), and it was the first big strike of the uranium boom. Steen made millions off his claims, and provoked a "uranium rush" of prospectors into the Four Corners region, similar to the Gold Rush of the 1850s in California.

In Moab, Steen built a $250,000 hilltop mansion--to replace his tarpaper shack--with a swimming pool, greenhouse and servants' quarters. He formed a number of companies to continue his uranium work, including the Utex Exploration Co , Moab Drilling Co , Mi Vida Co , Big Indian Mines and Uranium Reduction Co .

He made his wealth known by inviting the entire population of Moab to annual parties in a local airport hangar, having his original and worn prospecting boots bronzed and flying to Salt Lake City in his private plane for weekly Rumba lessons. In his later years, Steen was elected to the Utah State Senate and became a philanthropist, donating money for a new hospital in Moab and giving land for churches and schools.

It's Deja Vous All Over Again

The first Western uranium boom answered a call in 1948 for domestic uranium stockpiles for atomic bombs, making millionaires and overnight towns.

Now, suddenly, nuclear power is back in demand as a relatively cheap, reliable and emissions-free solution to the world's insatiable demand for energy. Even some leading environmentalists have endorsed nuclear power as an antidote to global warming. More than 50 nuclear plants are planned or under construction in a dozen countries, according to US and international nuclear agencies.

The nuclear comeback has reinvigorated a North American mining industry that, during the 1950s, was the stuff of legends. Uranium claims--which grant an exclusive right to mine a piece of federal land--were bought and sold like stock.

The federal government dumped its uranium stocks on the market, depressing the price in the early 1980s. After bottoming out at $7 in 2001, the spot price for milled uranium yellowcake has jumped sharply to over $110 a pound recently.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission says US utilities are looking at building as many as 27 reactors, and it just licensed a $1.5 billion uranium enrichment plant near Eunice, New Mexico, where a groundbreaking ceremony was held last summer.

Louisiana Energy Services , a subsidiary of Urenco, is building the first US installation that will use modern centrifuge technology. USEC , formerly the United States Enrichment Corporation and an arm of the federal government until 1998, operates a gaseous diffusion plant in Paducah, Kentucky, where pumps and filters separate lighter uranium atoms from heavier atoms in a slower, more power-intensive process.

The nation's 103 operating nuclear power plants already are experiencing dwindling stockpiles of uranium--some of it converted from Russian bombs--while energy-hungry China and India are rushing to build their own nuclear power plants.

Uranium concentrate is in short supply with world consumption of 180 million pounds outpacing annual production of 100 million pounds, according to industry and government estimates. For now, the difference is being made up by dwindling stockpiles--and the shortage is expected to get worse as new plants come online.

US utilities looking at building or adding reactors are motivated partly by the escalating cost of natural gas, and partly by fears the government may tax coal-fired plants for the carbon emissions they release into the air.

Outside of the US, the Nuclear Energy Institute says 27 nuclear plants are under construction in 11 other countries, adding to the world's 442 nuclear plants.

Federal policy, meanwhile, is changing to expedite development of nuclear power.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is streamlining licensing and operating approvals for a standardized--and vastly improved--new generation of reactors. The Energy Act of 2005 offered loan guarantees, production tax credits and partial reimbursement against regulatory delays for builders of nuclear plants.

By Elliott H. Gue
The Energy Letter

© 2007 Elliott H. Gue
Elliott H. Gue is editor of The Energy Letter , a bi-weekly e-letter as well as editor of The Energy Strategist , a premium bi-weekly newsletter on the energy markets. Mr. Gue is also associate editor for Personal Finance , where he contributes his knowledge of the energy markets.

Mr. Gue has a Master's of Finance degree from the University of London and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Management from the University of London , graduating in the top 3 percent of his class. Mr. Gue was the first American student to ever complete a full degree at that university.

Elliott H. Gue Archive

© 2005-2019 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in