Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

America’s National Security Is Undermined by Reliance on Foreign Uranium – by Jeff Carlson (Epoch Times – September 17, 2018)

Nuclear power generation provides about 11 percent of the world’s electricity from approximately 450 nuclear reactors. The United States is far and away the world’s largest producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30 percent of worldwide nuclear generation of electricity.

The United States has 99 nuclear reactors, which produced 805 billion kilowatt hours (kWh) in 2017, accounting for approximately 20 percent of our electricity needs and providing approximately 60 percent of our carbon-free electrical generation.

France is a distant number two in overall generation of nuclear power at approximately 384 billion kWh. However, France generates over 70 percent of its internal electricity needs from nuclear power. China is number three, generating a bit more 210 billion kWh. Russia is fourth with roughly 180 billion kWh. Continue Reading →

Uranium Mining a Decision Best Left to the States – by THE EDITORIAL BOARD (Lynchburg News and Advance – September 9, 2018)

The Coles Hill Farm uranium deposit in Pittsylvania County has been a bone of contention since the 1970s when geologists discovered it. From the property owners to one mining company after another, extraction of uranium ore has been an ongoing issue.

Likewise, the possibility of mining the deposit has met vehement opposition from environmental advocates and the majority of local residents. For decades, too, uranium mining has been an undercurrent in Southside Virginia politics. It’s about to get much more contentious very quickly.

That’s because Canadian-backed Virginia Uranium Inc. (VUI) and its local and international investors have taken their fight to overturn the commonwealth’s 36-year-old mining moratorium to U.S. Supreme Court. It has just scheduled arguments for Nov. 5, and the stakes for Virginia couldn’t be higher. Continue Reading →

Commentary: Uranium’s rally built on supply cuts, looks overcooked for now – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – September 3, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – One of the surprise packets in the commodity space this year has been uranium, with the spot price surging 30 percent in the past four months, a stellar performance that may not be justified by current fundamentals.

Uranium stood at $26 per pound on Aug. 31, up from the low so far this year of $20, hit in mid-April. The year-to-date gain is 16.6 percent, and the metal used to power nuclear reactors is on track to record a second annual increase.

This looks like a strong performance on the surface, but uranium isn’t quite like other commodity markets and it’s worth delving down to try and fathom the underlying dynamics. Continue Reading →

Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story – Book Review by Jonathan Buchanan (Mineral Exploration Magazine – Summer 2018)

To order a copy of Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines – A Canadian Story, click here:

Patricia Sandberg was formerly a partner at DuMoulin Black, a Vancouver law firm acting for mining companies listed on Canadian and international stock exchanges. Her clients had mining operations in Canada, the United States, China, and Latin America. Three generations of her family, including Patricia as a child, lived at Gunnar and her grandfather spent thirty years working at mines run by Gilbert LaBine, Canada’s “Father of Uranium.”

Book Review by Jonathan Buchanan

In the 1950s, the Cold War had a profound effect on Canada’s landscape – from the building of Distant Early Warning stations scattered across Canada’s North to the creation of uranium mining towns on the Canadian Shield. One of these towns, Gunnar, lasted for just over a decade, but its indelible impact on its residents, as Patricia Sandberg writes in Sun Dogs and Yellowcake.

The result is a very rich, often humorous, sometimes tragic and always engaging account of how one community rose to meet the demands of the Atomic Age. As the title suggests, it bridges the natural wonders of the North with those of the industrial world.

Continue Reading →

Massive filing in Cameco case may signal ‘trench warfare’ in Canada’s tax court – by Julius Melnitzer (Financial Post – August 8, 2018)

The 700 pages of concluding arguments filed with the Tax Court of Canada (TCC) in Cameco Corporation’s $2.1 billion transfer pricing dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) marks a new era of complexity for corporate tax litigation in Canada.

“That type of filing is unheard of and may signal the evolution of a kind of trench warfare in the Tax Court,” said a veteran tax litigator who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the lawyer’s connection to the ongoing case.

After 65 days of trial, the parties made their closing arguments in September 2017. Justice John Owen reserved his decision, which, by some accounts, may not be issued until 2019 owing to its legal and factual intricacies and the implications for business. Continue Reading →

Nuclear wasteland: The explosive boom and long, painful bust of American uranium mining – by Tom DiChristopher ( – August 4, 2018)

At the dawn of the atomic age, U.S. government incentives and trade barriers sparked a gold rush for uranium, the chemical element that was fueling the nuclear arms race at the time.

Now, 60 years later, American uranium miners want the government to use similar tools to prevent the collapse of the industry — and the few remaining U.S. companies still producing uranium for the nation’s fleet of nuclear power plants.

The numbers tell the tale. At the height of activity in 1980, U.S. companies produced nearly 44 million pounds of uranium concentrate and provided most of the supplies purchased by nuclear power plants. Last year, American miners produced 2.4 million pounds and supplied just 7 percent of the uranium bought by domestic plants. Continue Reading →

Ontario North could become host to nuclear waste – by Ben Cohen (Sudbury Star – August 3, 2018)

Hornepayne, a community of 980 people about 680 kilometres northwest of Sudbury, is one of the five finalists to see who becomes home to a nuclear waste facility.

In 2011, the town entered a bid to become a repository for 5.2 million log-sized bundles of used nuclear fuel. They were joined by 21 other Canadian communities that have since been whittled down due to internal protest or geological unsuitability.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of Canada’s plan is to take this used fuel, known as “high-level nuclear waste,” contain it in steel baskets stuffed into copper tubes and encased in clay, and place that in a Deep Geological Repository (DGR), a 500-metre deep hole reinforced with a series of barriers. This is where it will stay for the 400,000 years it remains radioactive. Continue Reading →

Cameco cutbacks are a boon for uranium sector, but bane for company’s outlook – by David Milstead (Globe and Mail – August 2, 2018)

You’re the pre-eminent producer of a key commodity, and the price outlook for your product is so poor that you shut down your best plants indefinitely, putting hundreds of people out of work. And this is good news?

Perhaps so, argue some of the analysts who follow uranium giant Cameco Corp. The company’s announcement last week that it would continue the shutdown of McArthur River, the world’s largest uranium plant, was seen as a bullish signal by some analysts, who raised expectations for uranium prices and for Cameco stock. In the first day’s trading on the news, the company’s shares jumped and pushed within a few cents of their 52-week high of $15.95.

That was the first day, however. In subsequent sessions, the shares have given back all their gains and more, as investor focus has shifted back to the damage to be done to Cameco’s earnings by low uranium prices and lack of production. The stock closed Wednesday at $14.11. Continue Reading →

Representative says Sask. mining sector not doomed after ‘significant’ Cameco layoffs – by Alex Soloducha (CBC News Saskatchewan – July 31, 2018)

Saskatchewan Mining Association argues problems isolated to uranium market

A representative for Saskatchewan’s mining sector says the industry is alive and well in the province, despite hundreds of layoffs. Pam Schwann, president of the Saskatchewan Mining Association, said last week’s layoffs at Cameco, where 700 workers were permanently laid off are “significant,” but don’t represent the entire industry.

Schwann argues that the issues that led to the indefinite shutdown of the company’s Key Lake and McArthur River uranium mine site are specific to the global uranium market.

“There’s just a surplus of uranium on the market and it’s cheaper for Cameco to purchase and draw down that existing inventory than it is for them to mine a world class deposit at reduced value,” Schwann explained. “The Cigar Lake mine is the highest grade uranium mine in the world, so it’s not like mining is leaving the province. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Uranium Review Rattles Nuclear Utilities – by Stephen Lee (Bloomberg News – July 30, 2018)

The Trump administration’s hard look at uranium imports is already rattling nuclear utilities’ fuel-purchasing decisions. The Commerce Department said July 18 it would launch an investigation, at the behest of uranium mining companies Energy Fuels Inc. and UR-Energy Inc., into whether U.S. overreliance on imported uranium threatens national security.

Although it is still too early to measure the Commerce probe’s specific impacts, John Keeley, a spokesman for the Nuclear Energy Institute, confirmed that some utilities “may be choosing to defer their contracting until there is more certainty with the outcome of the Department of Commerce’s review.”

To make nuclear fuel, uranium is extracted from rock and enriched, before being made into pellets that are loaded into assemblies of nuclear fuel rods. Continue Reading →

Ripple effect of Cameco layoffs – by Adam MacVicar (Global News – July 26, 2018)

Following Cameco‘s announcement that the company is laying off 550 employees at its McArthur River and Key Lake mining operations, other businesses in Saskatchewan are beginning to feel the pinch.

Northern Resource Trucking (NRT) has been in business since 1986, and a large portion of its business is shipping chemicals and supplies to and from Cameco’s uranium operations in northern Saskatchewan.

“Cameco has always been somewhere in the neighbourhood of 80 per cent of our business,” NRT president Dave McIlmoyl said. The company said it was forced to lay off 22 drivers in January when Cameco announced temporary layoffs at the mines. The closures were only supposed to last 10 months, but markets haven’t shown signs of improvement. Continue Reading →

‘Paralysis in the market’: Cameco to layoff staff, indefinitely idle uranium plants in ‘confusing times’ – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – July 27, 2018)

Denis O’Hara, 61, has worked for Saskatchewan-based Cameco Corp. in its Key Lake uranium mill for eight years and had hoped to retire there.

Instead, he learned on Wednesday evening that he and about 500 other unionized workers face an uncertain future. In the face of rockbottom uranium prices, Cameco announced that what had been planned in January as a temporary 10-month shut down of its Key Lake mill and McArthur River mine will go on “indefinitely.”

The shutdown comes at a delicate moment in which the uranium market is being hit by conflicting forces. The long-term global outlook for the industry remains positive with 57 new nuclear reactors planned, including 14 expected to come online this year, Cameco chief executive Tim Gitzel told investors on Thursday. Continue Reading →

Wyoming’s struggling uranium industry presses president for quotas on imports – by Heather Richards (Casper Star Tribune – July 23, 2018)

Two uranium companies with mines in Wyoming may get a boost from the Trump administration, forcing U.S. nuclear power plants to obtain more of their fuel from American producers.

Amidst sustained low prices for uranium, UR-Energy and Energy Fuels approached the Commerce Department with a proposal: investigate whether low-priced imports of uranium risk national security.

The department accepted that petition, noting the importance of uranium to domestic infrastructure and “weapons systems.” Officials have about nine months to offer a recommendation to the president on the companies’ contention of a national security risk and their proposed remedies: quotas on imports from countries like Russia and setting aside 25 percent of the domestic market for U.S. producers. Continue Reading →

Public safety, environment among concerns for uranium in Nova Scotia – by Josh Healey (Halifax Chronicle-Herald News – July 18, 2018)

Uranium, whether we like it or not, is a part of our daily lives, said Pamela Schwann, the president of Saskatchewan’s Mining Association. “Uranium is a naturally occurring substance and radiation is all around us,” said Schwann. “People don’t realize that.”

Make no mistake, uraninite, the major ore mineral from uranium, can be potentially hazardous. The risks associated with uranium mining are monitored by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) but because Nova Scotia doesn’t have an active mine, testing for uranium and radon gas in the province is not regulated by the CNSC.

Peter Elder, the chief science officer at CNSC and the vice-president of its technical support branch, explained that uraninite’s properties as a heavy metal are actually more toxic than its radioactivity. Continue Reading →

‘Everything is now fair game’: Canada unlikely to be spared from U.S. uranium protections – by Naomi Powell (Financial Post – July 19, 2018)

The United States Department of Commerce has launched an investigation to determine if uranium imports threaten national security, raising questions about whether Canadian producers will be exempted from any potential trade restrictions.

The investigation, which opens a new front in U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” trade campaign, “will canvass the entire uranium sector from the mining industry through enrichment, defense, and industrial consumption,” the commerce department said.

“Our production of uranium necessary for military and electric power has dropped from 49 per cent of our consumption to five per cent,” said commerce secretary Wilbur Ross. U.S. uranium production fell to 2.4 million pounds in 2017, down 61 per cent over the last decade, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Continue Reading →