ABSTRACT

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book deals with a highly unpredictable and volatile international commodity market. A non-military market for uranium developed in the late 1960s in response to the demand for fuel for the growing number of nuclear reactors coming into use in various countries. In the process of explaining the price movements, the book provides a comprehensive analysis of the international uranium market, from its inception in the late 1960s up to the present. The cost of investment in nuclear reactors, though very important for the nuclear industry, is also not central to the book's theme, and is therefore discussed only in passing, when the economics of nuclear electricity are compared with those of coal- and petroleum-based electricity generation. Uranium supply is heavily concentrated not only at the national level, but also among corporate decision units.