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Published on 15 December 2023

Objective: Determine whether the fissile materials (uranium and plutonium) available can meet the needs of nuclear power plants in France (or worldwide).

It is impossible to increase global nuclear power capacities if there are not enough fissile materials available. 

The market for natural uranium is global. Therefore, when assessing supply and demand, it is important to look not only at demand in light of a growing number of nuclear plants worldwide, but at supply curves, as well. I-Tésé has already conducted research on the long-term availability of uranium [3]. 

Our GRUS tool was developed to check whether there will be enough uranium and plutonium for different international nuclear deployment scenarios with different combinations of reactor technologies and/or approaches to fuel management. 

GRUS runs scenarios based on different international nuclear growth rates and supply curves to generate uranium price forecasts. It can run very-long-term (up to 100-year) scenarios, some of which have been shared with nuclear-industry stakeholders like Orano,  EDF, the NEA, and the IAEA [1].

​In 2021 we started running scenarios with GRUS to assess the impact of global SMR deployment, but based on different criteria than in previous studies. The purpose of this new study is to illustrate how sensitive different parameters of the system would be to SMR deployment. 

For the French market, the CEA, EDF, Orano, and Framatome are working together to assess the industrial feasibility of different strategies for updating the nation's nuclear power capabilities [2]. The fuel management methods (single- vs. multi- recycling) and deployment timescales for the different technologies (PWR or FNR) are varied in these scenarios. 

CASPAR, another I-Tésé software application, is used to re-run technical and economic analyses on these scenarios. Uranium price forecasts are vital to assessing the cost of nuclear fuel and, as a result, determining whether a given technology is economically viable.

[1] Baschwitz A, Mathonnière G, Gabriel S, Devezeaux de Lavergne J-G, Pincé Y. When would fast reactors become competitive with light water reactors? Methodology and key parameters. Prog. Nucl. Energy. 2017 Sep;100:103–113. 

[2] Chabert C, Saturnin A, Krivtchik G, Martin G, Tiphine M, Mathonnière G, et al. Feasibility of future prospects and transition scenarios for the French fuel cycle. In: Proceedings of the Global 2017 congress. Grand Walkerhill Seoul, Korea: 2017. 

[3] Monnet A. Disponibilité à long terme des ressources mondiales d’uranium. 2016 Nov 2.

 Contact : Sophie Gabriel