Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

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 →

NEWS RELEASE: Top scientists, writers and academics sign open letter backing nuclear to tackle climate change

OTTAWA, Nov. 5, 2018 /CNW/ – A distinguished and prominent group of Canadians and international men and women today released the text of an Open Letter to Canadians they will publish later this week in support of urgent action to reduce carbon emissions, including the need for next-generation nuclear technology to be part of the mix.

“Despite a vocal but dwindling ‘anti-nuke’ contingent stuck in last century’s political battles,” said David Schumacher, a signatory of the letter and organizer of the initiative, “these innovative nuclear power efforts deserve the support of government, industry, and all Canadians. Without nuclear it is going to be impossible to tackle climate change, so everyone has a stake in the success of these efforts.”

Mr. Schumacher is an Emmy-winning Canadian filmmaker, whose documentary, “The New Fire,” makes the case for next-generation nuclear to battle climate change.

The Open Letter is signed by 25 influential individuals, including prominent Canadians, Frank McKenna, former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. and former premier of New Brunswick; Continue Reading →

Cameco says uranium market improves, but still a need for caution – by Mariaan Webb ( – November 5, 2018)

Although the uranium market has showed a “marked” improved over the past year, Canadian uranium major Cameco has cautioned that prices are still nowhere near where they have to be to restart the idled production capacity, let alone incentivise new production opportunities.

Significant production cuts, reductions in producer inventories and an increase in demand for uranium in the spot market have put pressure on uranium prices, with the current spot price up about 40% on last year, while the long-term price is about 6% higher than a year ago.

However, Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel said that despite the “green shoots”, the market still had “a long way to go”, noting that prices were “nowhere near” the levels needed to trigger a restart of idled capacity. Continue Reading →

A Virginia Farmer Fights to Harvest His Uranium – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – October 31, 2018)

A U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the state’s mining ban divides the town of Chatham, as an environmental group warns of the potential “disaster” for air and water.

Walter Coles Sr. stood on a hill overlooking the Virginia pasture land that his family has farmed since it was deeded to them by Thomas Jefferson, motioning with a sweep of his hand to the expanse of radioactive treasure buried below.

“There’s uranium everywhere,” Coles said of fields that had once been filled with tobacco. In fact, his land holds the largest-known deposit of uranium in the U.S., an estimated 119 million pounds that could displace imports that constitute more than 90 percent of the uranium used by the nation’s nuclear power plants.

But the cache, once valued at $6 billion, can’t be mined. The Virginia legislature, after the Three Mile Island nuclear power station meltdown in 1979, imposed a moratorium on mining uranium in the state. Continue Reading →

China’s CNNC seeking overseas partners to secure uranium – exec (Reuters U.S. – October 31, 2018)

MELBOURNE, Oct 31 (Reuters) – China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) is looking to invest in overseas uranium mines to secure supply for an expected ramp-up in China’s nuclear power generation, a senior company executive said on Wednesday.

China and Japan have been ramping up nuclear power as an alternative to fossil fuels, and rising demand could pull uranium out of a years-long slump that has seen a swathe of projects put on care and maintenance in recent years.

“Our vision is to be the world’s leading uranium company,” Ni Tao, deputy manager of China National Uranium Co Ltd, said at the IMARC mining conference in Melbourne. Continue Reading →

Editorial: From Pagaea to Pittsylvania County; why there’s uranium in Virginia (The Roanoke Times – October 28, 2018)

About 200 million years ago, something strange happened in Pittsylvania County. Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on what to do about that.

Technically, Virginia Uranium, Inc. v. Warren has nothing to do with the Mesozoic Era and everything to do with the classic (but more contemporary) struggle between state and federal governments. Virginia Uranium wants to mine a deposit of uranium found under farmland about 8.5 miles east of Chatham and says Virginia’s ban on uranium-mining violates the federal Atomic Energy Act.

Virginia says that act applies only to uranium mines on federal lands, not private property. The Trump administration has weighed in on the side of the company. Politically, this sets up a curious role reversal, with the conservative president arguing in favor of federal power and the liberal attorney general of Virginia arguing on behalf of state’s rights. Continue Reading →

Nuclear-missile commander vs. Saskatchewan premier: The debate over proposed U.S. curbs on uranium imports – by Tom Blackwell (Financial Post – October 23, 2018)

Amid the multi-pronged Trump trade wars, uranium has been largely overlooked, but any protectionist measures could undermine a major Canadian export

Brian Boner isn’t alone in applauding proposed U.S. curbs on uranium imports from foreign countries like Canada. His reasons for backing the idea, though, stand out.

As a former nuclear-missile crew commander — managing up to $5-billion worth of intercontinental atomic firepower — the Wyoming state senator says he knows the importance of a robust domestic uranium industry.

“I was responsible directly to the president for potential launch actions on anywhere from 10 to 50 ICBMs,” Boner says in comments to the U.S. Commerce Department, referring to intercontinental ballistic missiles. “An increasingly uncertain geopolitical environment requires prudence and caution, especially in these crucial matters of defending our country from its existential threat.” Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Spain to block Berkeley uranium mine project – sources – by Belén Carreño (Reuters U.S. – October 16, 2018)

MADRID (Reuters) – The Spanish government has decided not to deliver the permits necessary to open the European Union’s only open-cast uranium mine near Salamanca, dealing a serious blow to Australian mining company Berkeley Energia’s (BKY.AX) plans.

The project was granted preliminary approval in early 2013 but has since faced local opposition. Berkeley later requested a trading halt on its shares, which fell nearly 29 percent in Australian trading hours on Tuesday, citing media articles about the Salamanca mine.

The company asked the Australian Securities Exchange to suspend trading until it released a statement on the Salamanca mine or until the opening of trade on Oct. 19, whichever came first, according to the letter sent to the regulator. Continue Reading →