* Rosatom sees spot prices rising in 2009, but slowly
* Kiriyenko says speculators dumped uranium in crisis
* Sees speculative impact declining, demand stable
(Adds details, quotes, background)
By Katya Golubkova
MOSCOW, March 6 Russian nuclear chief Sergei
Kiriyenko, who presides over one of the biggest players on the
world atomic market, forecast that spot uranium prices would
increase slowly in 2009.
"The uranium price will rise, but slowly... this year,"
Kiriyenko told reporters on Friday.
Prices for the nuclear fuel UX-U3O8-SPT have collapsed to
about $43.75 per lb from a record of $136 in June 2007,
according to prices from Ux Consulting (UxC), a leading
publisher of uranium prices.
Kiriyenko said speculators -- rather than consumers -- had
helped drive up uranium prices and then dumped the metal during
the financial crisis.
"On top of a rush for uranium, there were speculators who
really drove up the prices ... So uranium rose higher than its
proper price and then tumbled too far, to below its proper
price," he said. "The fall in prices has been far too sharp."
Kiriyenko heads the Rosatom state nuclear corporation, which
controls Atomenergoprom, one of the world's biggest players on
the nuclear market with operations ranging from uranium mines
and fuel enrichment to atomic power stations.
Rosatom said this month it would form a joint venture with
German industrial conglomerate Siemens (SIEGn.DE)in what
Kiriyenko said was a step towards a fully fledged partnership
that would create a serious alliance on the world market.
Australia has the world's largest known recoverable
resources of uranium, controlling about 23 percent, according to
the World Nuclear Association (www.world-nuclear.org), followed
by Kazakhstan with 15 percent and Russia with 10 percent.
Kiriyenko said a large number of speculators had already
sold their uranium.
"I think the major part have already dumped their uranium
and the rest will do so in the near future," he said.
"In atomic energy, it is actually hard to swiftly boost or
cut volumes of consumption. Current stations are working and new
ones have not yet been built so stable demand will be ensured
and pressure from speculators will gradually decline."
"In our view this will lead to a calm rise in prices with
sharp movements. I think this growing trend will start this
year," he added.
(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge, editing by Anthony Barker)