Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

Howard Balsley, uranium pioneer, preserved the past – by Heila Ershadi (Moab Sun News – March 21, 2019)

Howard Balsley is known in history books as a Moab uranium pioneer. In the book “The Moab Story: From Cowpokes to Bike Spokes,” author Tom McCourt writes that Balsley is “considered by many to be the father of the uranium industry in the United States.”

McCourt’s account says that Balsley came to Moab in 1908 and primarily made his living as a forest ranger, but also prospected and assisted others in their mining endeavors, even before the WWII uranium boom.

Balsley contracted with a number of small-scale miners across the Colorado Plateau to regularly make 50-ton shipments of uranium and vanadium ores to the Vitro Manufacturing Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In the early 1930s, the company used the ores to make pigments for glass and pottery manufacturers. During WWII, Balsley used a similar business model to supply the government with vanadium needed for the war effort. Continue Reading →

U.S. and Brazil may partner on small nuclear reactors – by Lisandra Paraguassu (Reuters U.S. – March 15, 2019)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Brazil and the United States could work together to build small nuclear reactors, Brazil’s mines and energy minister told Reuters on Friday, adding that the South American nation is also ready to open uranium mining to foreigners.

Brazil is preparing legislation that would clear the way for both private and foreign investment in prospecting and mining for uranium in the country, Minister Bento Albuquerque said in an interview. There is a draft of the legislation, but a final version must be negotiated with Congress, he said.

“We have to resolve internally the issue of uranium exploration that today is a monopoly of the state and is in the hands of Nuclear Industries of Brazil,” Albuquerque said, referring to the state firm running the country’s uranium mines. Continue Reading →

Mines could go nuclear in less than 10 years – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – March 15, 2019)

Historic panel talks “reliable, clean and cost-effective” energy being researched partly in Sudbury

Nuclear power is grabbing the attention of the mining industry, to the point where there is a real possibility there could be portable reactors powering mines in less than 10 years.

That was the news delivered at a first-of-its-kind panel discussion at the Prospectors and Developers Association’s (PDAC) annual convention, in Toronto on March 3.

The panel included Vic Pakalnis, president and CEO of Sudbury-based Mirarco, which is part of development of the technology to create small modular reactors (SMR); Diane Cameron of Natural Resources Canada; Ryan Blinn of Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh, Penn.; Corey McDaniel of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont.; Frank Saunders of Bruce Power in Tiverton; and Nathan Tedford from Hatch Ltd. in Mississauga. Continue Reading →

China Steps up Its Mining Interests in Greenland – by Marc Lanteigne and Mingming Shi (The Diplomat – February 12, 2019)

China’s growing involvement in Greenland presents risks and opportunities.

A major component of China’s expanding interests in the Arctic, as outlined in Beijing’s January 2018 White Paper on the region, has been the development of joint ventures on resource extraction, including fossil fuels and raw materials.

While Russia has been receiving the lion’s share of attention in the area of Chinese resource diplomacy in the Arctic, with the China-supported Yamal liquefied natural gas project being a major example, Greenland is emerging as another key component of Beijing’s emerging ‘Ice Silk Road.’

As the Greenland Ice Sheet continues to erode due to regional climate change (a paper published last month by the U.S. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science concluded that ice loss on the island has been accelerating significantly since the start of this century), more parts of Greenland’s coastal regions are opening up to potential mining projects. Continue Reading →

China could be a big winner if Donald Trump restricts US uranium imports, experts say (South China Morning Post – February 8, 2019)

China could be a big winner if the Trump administration demands that 25 per cent of United States’ uranium demand is supplied by American mines, experts say.

Currently both the US and China import more than 90 per cent of the uranium they consume. The US is, however, considering a 25 per cent domestic production quota for national security reasons.

This would make an extra 4.5 million kilogram of uranium available on the global market, at a time when Chinese uranium buyers are scouring the globe for more purchases. Continue Reading →

Is nuclear energy the key to saving the planet? – by Jonathan Thompson (High Country News – December 10, 2018)

A new generation of environmentalists is learning to stop worrying and love atomic power.

Emma Redfoot stands at a whiteboard in a small conference room, sketching neutrons, protons and nuclei, her voice rising enthusiastically as she explains nuclear fission: A neutron blasted into a uranium-235 atom shatters the atom, releasing energy and yet more neutrons that split other uranium atoms, causing a frenetically energetic chain reaction.

“The crazy thing about nuclear energy is that it turns mass into energy,” she says, her gray-blue eyes opening wider. “It. Destroys. Mass!” On the other side of the thick glass window here at the Center for Advanced Energy Studies (CAES) on the outskirts of Idaho Falls, Idaho, the mercury approaches 100 degrees, the sun an angry orange blob behind the thickening gauze of smoke from wildfires across the region — a reminder of the toll fossil fuels are taking on the planet.

But Redfoot says that the situation isn’t hopeless, that we can slash greenhouse gases and still have nice electrified things, including this comfortable climate-controlled room, without making the planet hotter and drier and smokier. To do so, however, we must embrace nuclear power — conquer our irrational fears of radiation and return to “a story that can be told in terms of abundance in the world we live in.” Continue Reading →

Is Global Atomic Stephen Roman’s next big thing? – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – January 21, 2019)

Northern Miner

Serial mine builder and financier Stephen Roman cut his teeth working for Denison Mines Corp. (TSX: DML), the uranium company built by his father. After starting there as a miner at the age of nineteen, he spent the next 25 years at the uranium producer before striking out on his own in 1990-1991.

Roman went on to build several mines in the gold space, the most recent, Harte Gold Corp.’s (TSX: HRT; US-OTC: HRTFF), Sugar mine, in Ontario. Among his other accomplishments: Building the Black Fox mine, now owned by McEwen Mining (TSX: MUX; NYSE: MUX), and selling Gold Eagle to Goldcorp. (TSX: G; NYSE: GG) for $1.5 billion.

But Roman’s interest in uranium never waned. In January 2005 he set up Global Uranium Corp.—now called Global Atomic Corp. (TSXV: GLO; US-OTC: SYIFF)—and decided to focus the company’s exploration dollars on West Africa. Continue Reading →

C$10.3m approved to advance of Wheeler River uranium project – by Mariaan Webb ( – December 18, 2018)

Spurred on by the positive results of its prefeasibility study (PFS) for the Wheeler River project, Canadian uranium company Denison Mines on Tuesday announced that C$10.3-million would be spent on advancing the Athabasca basin project in 2019.

The budget, approved by the Wheeler River joint venture in which Denison has 90% ownership, will be used to initiate the environmental assessment process, as well as engineering studies and related programmes required to advance the high-grade Phoenix deposit as an in-situ recovery (ISR) mining operation.

The initiation of the environmental assessment process and studies designed to ultimately support a feasibility study, illustrated the company’s commitment to achieving the project development timeline outlined in the PFS, said Denison president and CEO David Cates. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Russia and now China eye control of the global nuclear industry – by Mark Chalmers and Jeffrey Klenda (Washington Examiner – December 4, 2018)

The U.S. uranium mining industry has been devastated. This year, we expect it will provide less than 2 percent of the uranium that our country’s nuclear power plants need to produce 20 percent of our electricity — the lowest U.S. supply level since before the Cold War.

This is no accident. We believe this is a deliberate result of strategies by rival countries to increasingly dominate the global nuclear marketplace and undercut U.S. national and energy security.

More than one-third of uranium imports now come from state-sponsored enterprises in Russia and its satellites. That number is expected to increase as imports from allies such as Canada, Australia, and Namibia decrease. These government-owned industries employ what many would consider to be unfair trade practices that flood the global market with cheap uranium and nuclear fuel. Now China is following in their footsteps. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto sells African uranium mine to China – by Fumi Matsumoto (Nikkei Asian Review – November 27, 2018)

SYDNEY — Global mining behemoth Rio Tinto will sell its stake in a uranium mine in Namibia to a Chinese state-owned player for up to $106.5 million in the latest move to focus on such resources as iron ore and aluminum.

Rio Tinto said on Nov. 26 that it has agreed to sell a 68.62% interest in Rossing Uranium, the owner of the Rossing mine, to China National Uranium Corp., a unit of China National Nuclear Corp. The transaction is slated to complete in the first half of 2019, following approval from the Namibian government. The sale price will be linked to such factors as uranium spot prices.

Rio Tinto has held the stake since the 1960s, when development on the mine began. Output there accounts for 48% of the company’s total production of uranium, an element used as fuel for nuclear power generation. Continue Reading →

‘This has been going on for a very long time’: Province suing feds over $278M mine cleanup after cost-sharing talks fail – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – November 27, 2018)

Saskatchewan is suing the federal government to avoid being left holding the entire bill for a massively over-budget uranium mine cleanup project, the total cost of which has grown more than 1,000 per cent, to $278.1 million.

The province is seeking $61.8 million — the bulk of Ottawa’s original $12.3 million commitment plus $50.6 million to cover half of what has been spent to date — and a court order that the federal government “contribute equally” to remaining costs.

Filed this week in Regina Court of Queen’s Bench, the statement of claim is the latest development in a 12-year dispute over the ballooning cost of burying radioactive tailings and other work at the abandoned Gunnar uranium mine in northern Saskatchewan. Continue Reading →

Roxby Downs, the town built to service BHP’s Olympic Dam mine, celebrates 30 years – by Sarah Tomlinson and Patrick Martin (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – November 18, 2018)

The town of Roxby Downs in South Australia’s far north is so young, it has never buried a single local resident. Nestled on hot red sand 563 kilometres from the creature comforts of Adelaide, Roxby Downs officially opened on November 5, 1988 to service BHP’s Olympic Dam mine — one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Now 30 years old, the town boasts a pool, numerous sporting facilities, a supermarket, jewellery store, theatre and gallery, community radio station, and even an old video chain store that has been converted into a community hub for the many young families who occupy the town.

It also has its own rugby team, The Barbarians, whose success is only hampered by distance and the availability of having other teams to play. The young town even has a cemetery, but as Roxby Downs residents come from far and wide, they are laid to rest elsewhere — only pets inhabit this cemetery. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Canadian Nuclear Association welcomes the Canadian SMR Roadmap

For the full report:

OTTAWA, Nov. 7, 2018 /CNW/ – The Canadian Nuclear Association (CNA) welcomes the release of “A Call to Action: A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors,” the result of a pan-Canadian, multi-stakeholder study launched in early 2018.

The Roadmap outlines the potential applications for SMRs in Canada, which include providing clean and reliable electricity and heat to smaller and/or remote communities such as in Canada’s north; clean process heat and electricity for resource industries such as Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining and Alberta’s oil sands; and clean electricity to existing power grids, particularly those needing clean energy to replace fossil fuels (e.g. coal) for their base-load electricity generation.

“The Roadmap lays the groundwork for Canada to lead in the development of innovative low-carbon nuclear technologies of the future,” said CNA President and CEO Dr. John Barrett. “SMRs are a powerful way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adverse environmental impacts from energy production, while providing much-needed reliable sources of clean energy to small communities, to utilities and electricity grid-operators; and to the natural resources sector generally.” Continue Reading →

Justices Seem to Support Virginia’s Uranium Mining Ban – by Adam Liptak (New York Times – November 5, 2018)

WASHINGTON — When the largest known deposit of uranium in the United States was discovered in the 1970s in Pittsylvania County, Va., state lawmakers were wary. After some investigation, they imposed an indefinite moratorium on uranium mining.

On Monday, the Supreme Court considered whether that was lawful. A majority of the justices seemed inclined to say yes.

The case, Virginia Uranium v. Warren, No. 16-1275, concerns a possible clash between a federal law, the Atomic Energy Act, and the state moratorium. The federal law regulates what can be done with uranium and the radioactive waste it generates after it is extracted from the earth. If the federal law applies, it would displace the moratorium and allow mining to proceed. Continue Reading →

Federal nuclear regulator urges Liberals to exempt smaller reactors from full panel review – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – November 7, 2018)

Canada’s nuclear regulator has urged the federal government to allow smaller nuclear reactors to avoid lengthy impact assessments, a move that would create an easier and faster path for commercialization of the technology.

So-called “small module reactors,” or SMRs, have been touted as a low-carbon energy option for remote communities. But briefing notes from the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) show it is worried that protracted impact assessment hearings could be detrimental to the commercialization of the reactors in Canada.

The commission told the government it should retain responsibility to conduct environmental reviews when construction projects are proposed, according to documents obtained under access to information laws. Continue Reading →