10 Best Uranium Stocks To Bet on Nuclear Energy in 2022

Uranium stocks had a great 2021. As the transition to renewables continues, it’s becoming clear that intermittent sources of power like wind and solar are not enough. Investor interest in nuclear power – which doesn’t produce carbon emissions – has grown. Uranium, which fuels nuclear power plants, has rallied, and industry leaders like Cameco have benefited. But will uranium stocks continue to do well in 2022?

SustainFi   Updated December 29th, 2021

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Why invest in uranium and nuclear energy?

Despite being out of favor for a while, nuclear power stocks have made a big comeback in 2021. Nuclear energy proponents, including Bill Gates, argue that nuclear power is a must to reduce carbon emissions. A clean source of power that generates electricity without interruptions, nuclear energy can balance out intermittent renewables like wind and solar. And nuclear energy doesn’t produce greenhouse gas emissions, while high-profile accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima have been extremely rare.

Despite the enthusiasm, the state of the nuclear industry in 2021 is not good. According to the World Nuclear Industry Status Report, only 10% of global energy generation comes from nuclear power, down from 17.5% in 1996. In 2020, for the first time since 2012, nuclear production actually decreased by around 4% worldwide and 5% outside of China. Problems remain, including high construction costs, project delays, regulatory issues, and toxic waste. The global nuclear fleet continues to age.

But could the decline of nuclear be reversed? According to the International Energy Agency, global nuclear power capacity needs to double by 2050 for the world to get to net zero carbon emissions.

China, the world’s top emitter of greenhouse gases, is actually investing in new power plants. 18 out of 53 nuclear reactors under construction globally are in China, which is now the second largest nuclear power generator after the United States. Startups like Bill Gates’ TerraPower are developing small modular reactors (SMRs) in the U.S. In the U.K., jet engine maker Rolls Royce is working on SMR designs. Solutions for underground nuclear waste storage are being developed, notably in Finland.

Why did uranium stocks go up?

  • Uranium stocks have gone up in response to rising uranium prices, which increased from $29.6/lbs in January 2021 to $45.75/lbs in November 2021, the highest price since 2012 (though still below the 2007 peak of $137/lbs)
  • But, given all the hype around nuclear power as a solution to climate change, the rise in uranium prices may be driven more by investor speculation than actual demand from nuclear power plants. For example, the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (TSE: U.UN) launched in July 2021 and needed to buy physical uranium
  • Kazakhstan-based Kazatomprom, the world’s largest producer of uranium, also launched a fund to invest in uranium
  • Hedge funds and retail investors have been active in uranium and related stocks in 2021

However, the construction of new reactors takes a long time, and nuclear production has been decreasing, not increasing. Even though uranium prices remain way below their pre-Fukushima disaster peak of $137 (in 2007), the uranium bet seems to depend on investor sentiment.

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How do you invest in uranium and nuclear energy?

Nuclear energy is a small business for most utilities, like NextEra Energy, which operates seven nuclear power plants. Likewise, the companies developing nuclear technology are either private (such as Bill Gates’ TerraPower) or are small units of larger enterprises, like the French utility EDF (EPA: EDF), the U.S. engineering firm Fluor Corp (NYSE: FLR), or the British jet engine maker Rolls Royce (LON: RR). This leaves investing in uranium, which fuels nuclear power plants. Many uranium miners are publicly listed.

Uranium stocks list

  • Cameco Corp (NYSE: CCJ)
  • Uranium Energy Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: UEC)
  • NexGen Energy Ltd (NYSEAMERICAN: NXE)
  • Energy Fuels (NYSEAMERICAN: UUUU)
  • Denison Mines Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: DNN)
  • Uranium Royalty Corp (NASDAQ: UROY)
  • Kazatomprom (KAP.IL)
  • Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN)
  • Ur-Energy (NYSEAMERICAN: URG)
  • Yellow Cake Plc (LON: YCA)

Learn more about each company on the list.

1. Cameco Corp (NYSE: CCJ)

  • Market capitalization: $8.9 billion
  • 2021 return: 66%

Canadian uranium miner Cameco Corp is one of the largest global uranium producers, accounting for 7% of world mine production in 2020. The company has an annual capacity of over 53 million pounds and 461 million in proven and probable reserves. Cameco has operations in the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, Canada; Kazakhstan, where it has a joint venture with state-backed uranium miner Kazatomprom; and the U.S. Unlike many development-stage uranium mining companies, Cameco generates revenue. For example, it reported 1.8 billion CAD in 2020 sales.

2. Uranium Energy Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: UEC)

  • Market capitalization: $974 million
  • 2021 return: 102%

Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) is a pure-play U.S. uranium mining and exploration company. UEC owns a uranium processing plant in South Texas and controls a pre-construction uranium project in Wyoming. It also holds an equity stake in Uranium Royalty Corp, the only uranium royalty company (more below), and owns over 4 million pounds of warehoused physical uranium. In December 2021, UEC acquired Uranium One Investments and Uranium One Americas for $112 million, increasing its permitted and installed capacity in South Texas and Wyoming to 6.5 million pounds per year. However, the company is yet to restart uranium production so that, despite its nearly $1 billion market cap, it’s not generating revenue.

3. NexGen Energy Ltd (NYSEAMERICAN: NXE)

  • Market capitalization: 2.7 billion CAD
  • 2021 return: 59%

Canada-based NexGen Energy is a pre-revenue, development-stage uranium mining company. NexGen has a uranium mining portfolio in the Athabasca Basin in Saskatchewan, Canada. According to the company, its Rook I Project is the largest development-stage uranium deposit in the world, with an after-tax net present value of 3.47 billion CAD. The project is now in a feasibility study stage, and NexGen is projecting annual cash flows of 763 million CAD throughout the mine’s 10.7-year expected life.

4. Energy Fuels (NYSEAMERICAN: UUUU)

  • Market capitalization: $1.3 billion
  • 2021 return: 105%

A U.S. uranium producer, Energy Fuels claims to have more production capacity, mines, processing facilities, and in-ground uranium than any other U.S. competitor. The company has three licensed U.S. uranium facilities, over 11.5 million pounds in uranium production capacity and over 81 million pounds of in-ground uranium. Energy Fuels also produces vanadium, an element used to make extra-strength steel alloys for nuclear reactors, spacecraft and aircraft carriers. However, Energy Fuels doesn’t have much revenue to speak of, so the stock remains speculative.

5. Denison Mines Corp (NYSEAMERICAN: DNN)

  • Market capitalization: $1.1 billion
  • 2021 return: 111%

Canada-based Denison Mines is a uranium exploration and development company focused on the Athabasca Basin in northern Saskatchewan, Canada. Denison Mines owns a 95% interest in its flagship Wheeler River Uranium Project and a 22.5% interest in the McClean Lake Joint Venture. However, at the moment, Denison Mines doesn’t generate a material amount of revenue.

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6. Uranium Royalty Corp (NASDAQ: UROY)

  • Market capitalization: 440 million CAD
  • 2021 return: 219%

Uranium Royalty Corp is a Canadian company investing in uranium royalties, streaming agreements, debt and equity in uranium companies, and physical uranium. The company tries to take advantage of the ups and downs in uranium prices, acquiring uranium at cyclical lows and selling at the highs. The portfolio includes interests in 16 uranium projects in several geographies and a 3.8% stake in Yellow Cake Plc (see below). UROY doesn’t produce uranium itself. Instead, the company tries to be a sophisticated uranium investor and capital provider. However, as of today, it’s a small cap stock that is yet to report revenue.

7. Kazatomprom (KAP.IL)

  • Market capitalization: 7.3 billion GBP
  • 2021 return: 105%

JSC National Atomic Company Kazatomprom (Kazatomprom) is the world’s largest uranium producer. Based in Kazakhstan and backed by the Republic of Kazakhstan, Kazatomprom accounts for 23% of global uranium production. Kazatomprom is a low-cost producer, with 14 mining assets in Kazakhstan. The shares are listed in Kazakhstan on the Astana Exchange and on the London Stock Exchange.

8. Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN)

  • Market capitalization: 2.3 billion AUD
  • 2021 return: 227%

Australia’s Paladin Energy is a uranium exploration company with operations in Africa, Australia, and Canada. Although it doesn’t currently generate much revenue, Paladin’s flagship asset, the 75% stake in the Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia, can produce over 76 million pounds of uranium in the future. The mine suspended operations in 2018 due to low uranium prices, but the team is ready for a restart assuming a favorable uranium pricing environment. Paladin has additional uranium assets in Australia and Canada.

9. Ur-Energy (NYSEAMERICAN: URG)

  • Market capitalization: $273 million
  • 2021 return: 65%

Ur-Energy is a small cap U.S. uranium miner that operates several projects across Wyoming, notably Lost Creek. The company is looking to return Lost Creek to operation, expecting it to be the lowest-cost uranium supplier outside Kazakhstan. The mine has already produced 2.4 million pounds of uranium between 2013 and 2020, though it suspended operations due to the slump in the uranium market. The company’s second uranium project, Shirley Basin, has received major approvals and stands ready for development and construction.

10. Yellow Cake Plc (LON: YCA)

  • Market capitalization: 634 million GBP
  • 2021 return: 37%

London, U.K.-listed Yellow Cake Plc buys and holds uranium, offering investors an alternative way of getting exposure to the element. (Of course, you can also invest in a fund like the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust.) The company exists purely to invest in uranium, without any exploration, development, or mining risks. Yellow Cake was founded in 2018 by Bacchus Capital Advisors. The firm has a long-term contract with Kazatomprom, allowing them to buy large volumes of uranium at a price agreed before announcing the purchase. So far, Yellow Cake has bought 13.9 million pounds of uranium, held in storage in Canada and France.

🔔 Looking for more nuclear investments? Check out this list of the top uranium ETFs or learn about investing in nuclear fusion.

NOT INVESTMENT ADVICE. The content is for informational purposes only; you should not construe any such information as investment advice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can I invest in uranium?

Individuals can’t buy physical uranium, which can also be used to make nuclear weapons. However, you can invest in the stocks of uranium miners, uranium miner ETFs, or in a vehicle that holds physical uranium, such as the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust.