Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

Stars are aligning for uranium price rally – by Frik Els ( – March 31, 2021)

The uranium market is emerging from years in the doldrums as the overhang from the nuclear disaster in Japan is cleared and global demand picks up steam.

The spot price for U3O8 moved above $30 per pound for the first time this year as uranium producers and mine developers hoover up above-ground inventories and reactor construction continues apace.

Two new research notes from BMO Capital Markets and Morgan Stanley say today’s price marks a floor and predict a rally in prices over the next few years to the ~$50 level by 2024. Continue Reading →

Future Shock: A Forward Look At The Uranium Market – by Braden Maccke (The Deep Dive – March 28, 2021)

Title card presented with apologies to Herbie Hancock.

There might be more written about energy and climate than anything else, and why not? On-demand electric power is as much a part of post-industrial life as running water, and the fallout from generations of its generation is a collective problem; overcoming it is a generational challenge.

The latest contribution to the deforestation project that is climate literature is none other than Bill Gates, who made the media rounds last month in a promotion of his new book How To Avoid A Climate Disaster.

A review of the tome in the New York Times by veteran environmental activist Billy McKibben makes it out as the work of a geek-for-industry whose tunnel vision prevents a broader appreciation of the totality of the problem. Continue Reading →

People downwind of atomic blasts renew push for US payout – by Susan Montoya Bryan (Associated Press/Prince George Citizen – March 24, 2021)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — In the desert northeast of Las Vegas, residents living along the Nevada-Arizona border would gather on their front porches for bomb parties or ride horses into the fields to watch as the U.S. government conducted atomic tests during a Cold War-era race to build up the nation’s nuclear arsenal.

About 100 of those tests were aboveground, and U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton of Arizona testified during a congressional subcommittee hearing Wednesday that residents at the time marveled at the massive orange mushroom clouds billowing in the distance.

“They had no idea. They were never told that they were being exposed to dangerous cancer-causing radiation,” Stanton said. Continue Reading →

Canada’s nuclear regulator overlooked dubious data when renewing Pickering plant’s licence, documents show – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – March 23, 2021)

When it renewed the operating licence for Canada’s oldest nuclear power plant, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission overlooked perplexing results from inspections of the station’s pressure tubes that nobody could explain – a decision critics say is part of a larger pattern of placing the industry’s interests over those of the public.

In August, 2018, the CNSC extended Ontario Power Generation’s licence for its Pickering Nuclear Generating Station for 10 years – the longest term it had ever received.

In doing so, the CNSC lifted key regulatory roadblocks that would have forced OPG to replace aging pressure tubes – six-metre-long rods that contain fuel bundles of uranium – at great expense. Continue Reading →

Uranium Has That Healthy Glow Again – by Jinjoo Lee (Wall Street Journal – March 23, 2021)

It has been just over a decade since the Fukushima disaster and the nuclear-fuel industry is cautiously betting prospects for its products have finally recovered.

Some of the optimism can already be seen in the share price of Canadian company Cameco, one of the largest miners of uranium behind No. 1 producer Kazatomprom, a state-run company in Kazakhstan. Cameco’s U.S.-listed shares have risen almost 180% over the past year, to levels not seen since 2014.

The last time Cameco saw year-over-year net income growth was 2015, when the spot price of uranium oxide hovered above $35 a pound for most of the year. Since then, the commodity’s price has mostly stayed below $30 a pound, though it seems to be recovering quickly. Continue Reading →

As decades-long search for nuclear waste site nears end, communities face tough decision – by Matthew McClearn (Globe and Mail – March 19, 2021)

The Municipality of South Bruce, an aggregation of predominantly agricultural communities south of Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula, must soon decide whether to accept spent nuclear fuel that will shape its future for centuries.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) has almost finished a decades-long search for an “informed and willing host” for an underground disposal site known as a deep geological repository (DGR).

It will choose between two final candidates – South Bruce and Ignace, in Northwestern Ontario – in 2023, said Mahrez Ben Belfadhel, the vice-president of site selection. If either community wants it, that is. Continue Reading →

Canadian firm plans to start building Niger uranium mine in early 2022 – by Mariaan Webb ( – March 18, 2021)

A pilot plant programme at the Dasa uranium project, in Niger, has delivered better-than-expected metallurgical results and with the required operating permits in hand, Global Atomic CEO Stephen Roman says the company is confident it could start building the Dasa mine early next year.

Confirmation of the metallurgical process to recover uranium was a key milestone for the project, keeping the feasibility study on track for completion in the third quarter.

Roman states that TSX-listed Global Atomic will start tendering for mill components to finalise costs. Continue Reading →

Niger uranium mine closure: hundreds of jobs cut, concerns for environment (RFI – March 15, 2021)

A uranium mine in the northern Niger town of Arlit is scheduled to shut down on 31 March, cutting 600 jobs, after its resources were depleted, leaving mine workers without jobs and a very small payout package, according to an official of the National Union of Mines.

“We have a lot of our workers who are young– as long as there is no economic recovery in the country, that means that many of these young people will find themselves unemployed,” Niou Amadou, general secretary of the National Union of Mines, told RFI’s Gaelle Laleix.

They have been working at the Akouta mine for Cominak, a Nigerien subsidiary of the French group Orano, formerly Areva, which has been mining uranium in the mine for 43 years. Continue Reading →

African countries are helping China go green. That may have a downside for Africans. (Washington Post – March 12, 2021)

The details of China’s new 5-year plan, released earlier this month, suggest China has put off the difficult steps necessary to become carbon neutral by 2060.

President Xi Jinping had announced that goal last fall, reflecting the Chinese Communist Party’s pursuit of “Ecological Civilization,” a vision of environmental sustainability both within and beyond China’s borders.

Achieving Ecological Civilization won’t be easy. China accounts for 28 percent of global carbon emissions. How will Beijing pursue this goal — and at what cost? Continue Reading →

‘It’s been a tough 10 years’: Saskatchewan uranium industry reflects on Fukushima disaster a decade later – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – March 11, 2021)

The March 11, 2011 disaster had a profound effect on Saskatchewan’s uranium industry. No one expected the difficult times would last so long.

Leigh Curyer was about to board a flight home to Australia when he heard the news. For Tim Gitzel, it came during a meeting with his company’s senior executives.

Jim Corman was across town in his own office, planning a development project in Nunavut. It was March 11, 2011, and disaster had struck Japan. It was a catastrophe of epic proportions that — beyond the immense loss of life and humanitarian toll — would directly affect Saskatchewan for years to come.

At the time, few in the province’s uranium industry sensed how bad it would be, or for how long. “I don’t think anyone really estimated that every reactor (in Japan), all 54, would be shut down, and they’d be down for a number of years,” recalled Gitzel, who was at the time months away from becoming Cameco Corp.’s CEO. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Ten years ago, the world took away the wrong lesson from the tragedy of Fukushima – by Doug Saunders (Globe and Mail – March 7, 2021)

Ten years ago next week, in the aftermath of a terrible natural disaster, Japan offered the world a valuable lesson about nuclear power and climate change. Unfortunately, it was not the lesson the world took from it.

The tsunami that tore through coastal Japanese cities in the wake of the Tohoku earthquake on March 11, 2011, was the most powerful tidal wave in three centuries. It killed more than 18,000 people – thousands are still listed as missing – left hundreds of thousands homeless and devastated the lives of countless families.

As that humanitarian crisis was just beginning, the world’s attention turned away from the larger tragedy and focused on the former coal-mining town of Okuma, in Fukushima prefecture, on Japan’s eastern coast. Continue Reading →

Japan’s Green Future Requires Returning to Its Nuclear Past – by Tsuyoshi Inajima, Stephen Stapczynski and Shoko Oda (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – March 7, 2021)

About once a month, the same group of two dozen Japanese government officials, company executives and professors file into a bland white and beige conference room at the nation’s economy, trade and industry ministry to plot its long-term energy future.

Each has a printed agenda, tablet computer and carton of green tea neatly laid out before them, and politely flips over a rectangular name card to request a turn to speak. Beneath the rigid formality, there’s an increasingly divisive debate: what’s the role of nuclear energy a decade after the Fukushima disaster.

Since Japan pledged in October to become carbon neutral by 2050, many among the advisory group have reached the same conclusion. To meet its global climate commitments, the country will need to restart almost every nuclear reactor it shuttered in the aftermath of the 2011 meltdowns, and then build more. Continue Reading →

Irrational Nuclear Fear Puts Sweden In Danger Of Succumbing To Stupidity – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – February 28, 2021)

No one has ever died because of Swedish nuclear power. Until recently, nuclear power provided about 40% of that country’s electricity, similar to hydro. Fossil fuels only generated about 1% of Sweden’s electricity.

But that’s about to change for the worse. As Sama Bilbao y Léon and John Lindberg at World Nuclear Association write, “[Starting in 1980] Sweden had proved to the world that it was possible to free itself from fossil fuels for electricity production in less than a decade.

One of the world’s cheapest and cleanest electricity systems was delivered, at the same time as Swedish life improved without sacrificing the environment.” Continue Reading →

‘Stay off our lands unless given consent’: FSIN, mining firm at odds over exploration on Sask. First Nation (CTV News Saskatoon – February 24, 2021)

SASKATOON — The Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is asserting that resource exploration permits from the Government of Saskatchewan have no authority on First Nations’ lands.

This comes after a Toronto-based uranium resource exploration company was found twice on the Birch Narrows Dene Nation without the consent of their band council.

“Resource developers must understand that provincial permits don’t give them the green light to run roughshod over our inherent and treaty rights,” said Birch Narrows Dene Nation Chief Jonathan Sylvestre. Continue Reading →

Cameco’s legal victory seen as rebuke to CRA’s costly pursuit – by Patrick Brethour (Globe and Mail – February 19, 2021)

For every day of his 10-year tenure at the head of Cameco Corp., Tim Gitzel has been saddled with a sprawling, costly and potentially ruinous tax dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency over how the uranium producer dealt with its overseas profits.

That dispute was punctuated, if not yet quite ended, on Thursday when the Supreme Court of Canada declined to hear the CRA’s appeal of lower-court decisions that had sided with the company.

The heart of the long-running dispute is transfer pricing, or how multinational companies such as Cameco determine what prices their subsidiaries charge each other for goods and services, with those decisions influencing how much tax is paid in various jurisdictions. Continue Reading →