Archive | Uranium and Nuclear Power Industry

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 →

Grand Canyon uranium mining ban upheld as supreme court declines to hear challenge – by Joanna Walters (The Guardian – October 1, 2018)

The ban on new uranium mining near the Grand Canyon implemented by the Obama administration was effectively upheld on Monday when the US supreme court declined to hear a challenge from the industry.

Environmental groups and Native American communities declared victory when, on the first day of its fall season, the bench announced that the uranium extraction ban was among cases it refuses to review.

An appeals court decision from December 2017 that the ban is legal will now stay in place. Hundreds of mineral deposit claims from Canadian, British and US interests that want to seek out and exploit uranium deposits close to Grand Canyon National Park now remain on hold. Continue Reading →

With the CRA tax case now behind it, is it finally time for a bet on Cameco and the future of uranium? – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – September 27, 2018)

A court ruling in favour of Cameco Corp. in its long-simmering tax dispute with Canada Revenue Agency has lifted a concern that had weighed on the uranium producer’s share price for several years, sending its stock soaring on Thursday.

The share price jumped 15.7 per cent, to $14.80 in Toronto, for its biggest gain in nearly 10 years, and executives beamed.

“I do not think it could have been more clear on any of the issues,” Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s chief executive officer, said during a conference call. “So we’re absolutely delighted with the decision.” The Tax Court of Canada ruling released on Wednesday said Cameco had not violated Canadian law by selling uranium through a European subsidiary to reduce its tax bill. Continue Reading →

For national security, impose quota on foreign uranium imports – by Paul Goranson (San Antonio Express-News – September 24, 2018)

Today, the Texas uranium mining industry is virtually silent. Indeed, across the U.S., this once-thriving industry now supplies only a small fraction of our domestic nuclear energy and defense requirements, threatening our energy independence and national security. Along with many others, the U.S. Department of Commerce, or DOC, is now asking, why?

As the world’s largest consumer of uranium, the U.S. now produces only 5 percent of the uranium needed to supply 20 percent of our nation’s electricity, representing nearly 60 percent of our clean, zero-carbon electricity. As recently as 1987, almost 50 percent of our nuclear fuel consumption came from domestically produced sources.

Earlier this year, Energy Fuels Resources (USA) and Ur-Energy USA Inc. petitioned the DOC to investigate the adverse effects of uranium imports on national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. Continue Reading →

SASKATCHEWAN’S FIRST COLD WAR URANIUM MINE – by Dr. Laurie Schramm (Saskatchewan Research Council – September 18, 2018)

This blog post is based on the book, “The Nicholson Mine. Saskatchewan’s First Cold War Uranium Mine” co-written by Dr. Laurier Schramm and Patty Ogilvie-Evans.

In the early 1930s, prospectors discovered mineable deposits of Canadian uranium minerals in the Beaverlodge region near Lake Athabasca in northern Saskatchewan. Uranium wasn’t much more than a curiosity at that time, but it became instantly valuable when the 1939 discovery of nuclear fission and its massive energy-producing potential led to an international atomic energy race.

The worldwide search for uranium caused a resurgence in northern Canadian mineral exploration through the 1940s. In the early 1950s, many uranium mines were developed in northern Saskatchewan.

This era is rich in stories, involving a high-stakes treasure hunt in a remote, northern wilderness, and the secrecy, intrigue, and urgency of the Cold War, plus adventures and hardships of all kinds. Although there were many failures, a few remarkable successes were born out of a combination of hard work, good fortune, creativity, and dogged persistence. The results made Canada one of the world’s largest sources of uranium. Continue Reading →

[Nuclear Testing Australia] Remembering The Black Mist – by Karen Wyld ( – September 19, 2018)

Karen Wyld is an author and freelance writer of Martu descent, living on Kaurna country in South Australia

Recently I viewed the Black Mist Burnt Country exhibition at the National Museum of Australia. Launched on 27 September 2016, to mark the 60th anniversary of nuclear bomb testing at Maralinga in South Australia, the exhibition has already covered a lot of ground touring the eastern states.

This exhibition is a vivid and reflective collation that is raising awareness of the impact of nuclear testing in Australia. The cost for British and Australian army personnel and civilians was high. More so for Aboriginal people, who often weren’t even considered before the bombs went off.

Given re-emergence of interest in uranium mining and intent to construct waste dumps on Aboriginal lands, despite strong community opposition, this exhibition is also a stark reminder of how little some people have learnt from the past. Continue Reading →

The Riches Beneath the Plains: Mineral Exploration and Mining in Saskatchewan is Still World Class (Investng News Network – September 17, 2018)

Investing News Network

This INNspired article is sponsored by Canadian Platinum

Mineral exploration and mining in Saskatchewan have consistently been recognized as the best examples for the industry in Canada, and the province is considered one of the greatest places in the world to conduct mining operations.

The latest Fraser Institute report places the flat province at number two in their worldwide rankings, just below Finland. As the third largest source of employment in the province, the mining industry is vitally important to Saskatchewan. This has led its provincial government to go out of its way to make sure mining in Saskatchewan is as attractive to mining firms as possible.

That’s not to say that Saskatchewan needs much help. Proudly boasting a rich and diverse mineral wealth, a skilled workforce and a strong mining history, Saskatchewan’s mining industry provides enormous opportunity and excellent stability for the mining firms conducting operations within its borders. Continue Reading →