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May 03, 2011

Official confirmation that I won three nuclear bets in 2010

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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