Resource Crunch: Why Many Things Cost Much More

By Tom Randall and Eric Roston - 2012-02-06T18:24:40Z

Photograph by David Hancock/Anzenberger/Redux

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Peak Uranium--Nuclear Risk Declines Post-Fukushima

"Peak uranium" entered the lexicon with peak oil, coal and natural gas in 1956, when Shell Oil geologist Hubbert sketched out his famous resource bell curves. The future is still up for debate.

The world reached a uranium production peak in the 1980s, even as consumption climbed. However, supplies continued to meet demand because weapons decommissioned after the Cold War were repurposed for commercial fuel. Those sources are now drying up, and a new demand-driven peak may be on the horizon.

The Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan last year scaled back global nuclear ambition dramatically and raised questions about nuclear power's future. That makes peak uranium an uncertain risk at a time when other power sources, such as solar, wind and natural gas, have made great gains.

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