Determining the spot price for uranium or U3O8 is shrouded in secrecy. U3O8 (yellowcake) is concentrated uranium oxide produced from uranium ore and is the most actively traded uranium-related commodity. Its primary use is as fuel for nuclear reactors. The price is evaluated independently by two companies, TradeTech and UxC, reputedly on the basis of their insider knowledge of pending deals and existing bids and offers which are being considered (a process taking at least a week apparently). Both companies evaluate the price weekly, but then send it only to their subscribers, only publishing the new values on their websites three days later.
The NYMEX started a listing of uranium futures contract in May 2007, as the energy and metals exchange looked to capitalize on surging interest in the nuclear fuel. It will be a financially settled contract with each month settling on the corresponding spot month-end U3O8 price published by The Ux Consulting Company.
The futures contract provides nuclear power plants with a vehicle to hedge against rising prices as commercial stockpiles dwindle and more plants are built.