2022 was a good year for Cameco.

The Saskatchewan based uranium mining company which has a number of operations in the province’s north saw its fortunes turn around due to a number of factors.

Tim Gitzel, the president and CEO of Cameco explained the outlook for the company has improved in part because attitudes are changing in regards to nuclear power.

“We saw a real return to nuclear power around the world, where countries are looking at their energy sources and taking another look at nuclear power and building new reactors,” he said.

Gitzel said many countries in Europe including the United Kingdom have been adding nuclear power to their grids and added countries in Eastern Europe, which have traditionally imported gas from Russia are looking at possible alternatives for power as well. The Cameco CEO said there is also growing demand for uranium domestically.

“I can tell you five years ago we weren’t talking about nuclear power here in Saskatchewan, now the government has committed to building small modular reactors toward the end of this decade,” he said.

Along with Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick are too looking at adding more nuclear reactors to their power grids.

With the increase in demand for uranium, Gitzel said Cameco has been able to restart their operations at McArthur River and Key Lake, which brought a large number of people back to work.

“I think we’ve hired about 700 people to work in those facilities, most of them from northern Saskatchewan,” he said.

Another major development for the company this year was their joint acquisitions of Westinghouse Electric. Gitzel said the addition of Westinghouse Electric is one which makes sense for Cameco, explaining the services it provides compliment those of Cameco.

“They then fabricate the fuel and they’ll also build nuclear reactors for you, so it was a very nice fit we thought,” he said.

Looking forward to 2023 Gitzel said the company’s major priorities include increasing uranium production at their restarted facilities to fifteen million pounds per year. The company will as well be working to wrap up their purchase of Westinghouse Electric, which still requires some regulatory approval in some jurisdictions.

“We hope to have that closed by mid next year,” said Gitzel.

(Tim Gitzel with Athabasaca MLA Jim Lemaige and Premier Scott Moe at McArthur River and Key Lake Mill in November. Photo Courtesy of Twitter.)