As with any industry, there have been ups and downs in the past 50 years, and I can say from my 25 years in the industry, it’s been up and down and public support has come in, and then stronger and a little bit weaker, but the world’s reactors have continued to produce energy efficiently and affordably. As a result, many utilities around the world want and need nuclear in their energy portfolios, so much so that over the past decade, we started to see construction of new reactors, the magnitude of which has not been seen for many years. The pace of that construction accelerated to the point where, today, dozens of reactors are being built around the world, and increasing the need for uranium.
The challenge for the industry, as Oscar has mentioned, is the near and mid-term uncertainty that has arisen from the events of Japan last year. At that point, all countries with nuclear programs paused to review the safety of their operations and to conduct stress tests, which has led to some delays in the licensing and construction. Some countries, most notably Germany, as most of you probably know, over time, has decided to move away from nuclear and focus on other ways to generate electricity. And Japan, as of very recently, has no reactors operating.
The result is that supply and demand, which is usually a fairly simple equation, has become a bit more complicated and there is a concern about the possibility of excess inventories entering the market, and the utilities have been in a wait-and-see mode. Today, this is how the industry stands while those issues get sorted out, which we are watching closely.
But with regard to the Japanese fleet, we believe that the reactors will eventually come back online, and that Japan remains committed to nuclear energy. We have -- Cameco itself has partners. Japanese utilities are partners in our Kintyre and our Cigar Lake projects. And they are very clear that they are committed to these projects and they want to remain in the business. So I think that that’s a very positive for the future of the Japanese fleet.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com