I am now -- at this point, I must pass along a – of course, you have seen this on every presentation, our friendly reminder that information in this presentation will be forward-looking, some of it. It’s based on a number of assumptions, and that actual results could differ materially. Please refer to our annual information form and the MD&A for factors that could cause these different results and the assumptions that we have made.Before I get into the specifics of Cameco, I’d like to start by looking at the uranium market and the energy market which drives our business. It’s -- I know, as Oscar said top-of-mind for you, given the changes in the market in the past -- the last few years or so. I think it’s important to start by looking at the big picture for nuclear. And the big picture for nuclear is that it’s a very long-term picture. This is a long-term industry, and the fundamentals that drive it have not changed that much over the years. Some 50 years ago, to provide some background, utilities started to use nuclear reactors to power their grids because they needed safe, clean, reliable, and affordable energy, and they needed more of it. That need has not diminished over the years, and has in fact increased in recent years as more focus has been put on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring energy security. An even bigger contributor to this need is the world demand for energy in general. Since the 1980s, global electricity consumption has tripled, and it is forecast to almost double again over the next two decades. Understandably, the largest growth is coming from countries with rapidly expanding economies. And to put this into perspective, some – there’s seven billion people on the planet roughly. Of that two billion do not have access to electricity, and more who have access to only a fraction of the electricity that we use here in the western world, and they are demanding more.
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