The U.S. Has to Have This Resource... But Can't Mine Enough of It


Shutterstock photo

The market's biggest winners of the past decade are littered with natural resource stocks.

Contango Oil & Gas (NYSE: MCF ) has soared 753% in the past decade. Buenaventura Mining (NYSE: BVN ) , Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE: FCX ) , and Hecla Mining (NYSE: HL ) have produced gains of 1,095%, 1,097%, and 1,934%, respectively.
Of course, not every natural resource stock will see gains like these. But there's little doubt commodities remain one of the best places on Earth to invest.

And the latest trend I've found in the sector could lead to another round of winners...

Most people have never heard of the "Megatons to Megawatts" program. Put simply, the government-to-government agreement ships uranium harvested from dismantled Russian nuclear weapons to use as fuel in nuclear reactors in the United States.

But in 2013, this 20-year nuclear warhead agreement between the United States and Russia will expire.

Here's the kicker: This program accounts for half the U.S.' nuclear fuel and 10% of our total electricity. The amount of electricity produced thanks to this program is more than solar, wind and hydroelectric combined. But when it expires in 2013, there's going to be a massive shortfall of uranium in the United States.

In fact, our power plants need about 40-60 million pounds of uranium annually to operate, but domestic mines spit out just 4 million (about 6-10% of what we need).

Then there's the rest of the world....

More than 440 commercial nuclear reactors operate around the world today, and that's not counting those used in military vessels and for scientific research. In total, these facilities consume about 180 million pounds of processed uranium a year. But despite their best efforts, producers can only supply about 130 million pounds annually.

We'll just find more of the stuff, right? Greg Hall, director of one of Australia's top uranium explorers, recently told the World Nuclear Association to expect no more than a handful of significant new finds over the next decade.

But that's not stopping growth in demand.

The U.S. Nuclear RegulatoryCommission has received license applications for the construction of 26 new reactors. India's leaders have committed to giving nuclear energy 25% of the nation's power generating capacity, up from 2.5% today.

But any conversation about growing demand begins and ends with China. The Chinese government has outlined bold plans to spend more than $500 billion to triple the size of its reactor fleet during the next decade.
According to Morgan Stanley, 147 new reactors will come online worldwide in the next 10 years. Once up and running, they will burn through an additional 80 million pounds of uranium a year. That will push global consumption from 180 million pounds to 260 million -- an increase of more than 40%.

Is it any surprise Market Vectors Uranium/Nuclear Energy (NYSE: NLR ) has jumped more than 45% since June?

Action to Take --> The best news for investors is that this story is just beginning to play out. Uranium looks to be increasingly scarce amid more demand -- the perfect recipe for higher prices. And I think a small handful of producers will be the biggest beneficiaries. [I'll be discussing the uranium crunch more in my upcoming free webcast. Go here for the details .]

-- Nathan Slaughter

P.S. -- There's an interesting way to make money that's getting a lot of attention lately. In short, a Texas man has figured out how to collect an extra $3,000 to $6,600 each and every month by simply owning shares of some of the safest stocks on the planet. If this sounds like something you're interested in, keep reading…

Disclosure: Neither Nathan Slaughter nor StreetAuthority, LLC hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

© Copyright 2001-2010 StreetAuthority, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This article appears in: Investing , Commodities , Investing Ideas
More Headlines for: BVN , FCX , HL , MCF , NLR

More from Nathan Slaughter


Nathan Slaughter

Nathan Slaughter

Find a Credit Card

Select a credit card product by:
Select an offer:
Data Provided by