See Spot. See Spot run. See Spot run up by 190% in a year and make Cameco (NYSE:CCJ) a ton of cash.

I'm talking, of course, about the spot price of uranium. While much of Cameco's U308 production is contracted at rates far below the spot price, these spot rates still influence the company's "market-related" contracts. Overall, the company's price realizations for uranium came in 61% above last year, in terms of Canadian dollars.

Utilities held off on purchases last quarter, but they couldn't dally forever. The quarter's orders flooded in like the water at Cameco's disastrous Cigar Lake project, now delayed until 2011. Sales volumes doubled those of the prior year's quarter, and they're back to even on a six-month basis. Thanks to improved pricing, the firm's year-to-date pretax earnings on uranium sales are up 120%. See Spot salivate.

While the price (shockingly) declined slightly, the appetite for spot uranium declined markedly in the quarter. Spot volume was cut fully in half for the quarter. This isn't too big a deal for Cameco, which primarily looks to secure long-term contracts with utilities. Still, it only managed to place three million out of the four million pounds it was looking to sell on the spot market.

Cameco's lateral businesses, gold and power production, were both hampered a bit this quarter, but uranium production is the key activity here. With Shaw Group (NYSE:SGR) recently getting in on a four-reactor deal in China, and Huaneng Power (NYSE:HNP) looking to shake things up with its pebble-bed reactors, I see a lot of incremental demand coming online from the Far East over the next two to three decades. Of course there's always the possibility of a nuclear renaissance here at home, much to the chagrin of Peabody Energy (NYSE:BTU), CONSOL Energy (NYSE:CNX), and the rest of the coal group. If you believe that nuclear will play an increasing role in powering the homes of Dick and Jane, Cameco is a conservative way to play it.

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Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't own shares in any company mentioned. Huaneng Power is a Rule Breakers recommendation. See the Motley Fool's disclosure policy run.