Canada gears up for China uranium exports – by Carolynne Wheeler (Globe and Mail – September 22, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

BEIJING — Canada’s vision to ship large quantities of oil and natural gas to China will be preceded by another key energy export: uranium.

Shipments of Canadian uranium concentrate are expected to arrive on Chinese shores within a year under a new agreement, once Parliament ratifies a new protocol for trade, says Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.

“I just don’t see a lot of roadblocks” to an arrangement that is expected to open the door to some $3-billion in sales over the next decade, possibly starting as soon as six months from now, Mr. Wall said in an interview in Beijing this week. “It’s very significant.”

Saskatchewan-based uranium miner Cameco Corp. joined a major Canadian trade delegation here this month, encouraged by a supplementary protocol to the Canada-China Nuclear Co-operation Agreement negotiated earlier this year by Prime Minister Stephen Harper and signed by Foreign Minister John Baird this summer. The agreement will govern exports of uranium, used to fuel nuclear reactors.

China has 14 reactors now on line, 26 more under construction and several dozen more believed to be in the planning stages, part of its drive to move away from polluting fossil fuels in supplying its energy-hungry industries and population of 1.3 billion.

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[Ontario] Nuclear waste seeks a home – by John Spears (Toronto Star – September 1, 2012)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Picture this: you’ve lived in the same house for more than half a century, and never taken out the garbage. Instead, you’ve sorted it carefully into the easy stuff like scrap paper, and the not-so-easy stuff, like the pot of left-over clam chowder you made in 1994.
Then you sealed it all in boxes, labeled them, and locked the stuff in the basement, promising some day to find a better place for it.
Now, picture Canada’s nuclear industry.
Since the 1960s, nuclear power plants have generated more than two million bundles of highly radioactive used fuel. And they’re all still stored on the sites of the plants that produced them.  But the pace of finding a site to store Canada’s most potent radioactive waste permanently is about to pick up.
Twenty Canadian communities have said they’ll consider volunteering to host the storage site. That list is about to close. The Nuclear Waste Management Organization, whose job it is to find and build the site, will stop taking new names on Sept. 30.

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Cameco acquires BHP Australian uranium deposit for $430-million – by Pav Jordan (Globe and Mail – August 28, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Cameco Corp. is growing its uranium holdings even as other players back away from an industry stuck in a low-price trough for over a year. Saskatoon-based Cameco, already the world’s largest publicly traded uranium producer, announced plans to buy the Yeelirrie uranium project in Western Australia for $430-million (U.S.), adding one of the country’s top undeveloped uranium deposits to its portfolio.

It was the second acquisition by Cameco since May, when it reached a deal to buy nuclear fuel broker Nukem Energy for about $300-million, including debt.

“We believe Cameco could be using the current period of disillusionment with uranium and the nuclear industry to build an inventory of larger projects that could find their way into the company’s development pipeline over the next decade,” Greg Barnes, an analyst with TD Securities Inc. in Toronto, said in a research report on Monday.

Global uranium demand is expected to grow over the next decade with ballooning needs around the world for clean energy to generate electricity, particularly in China and other fast-growing economies.

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Crees “determined to protect our way of life against the unique and grave threat posed by uranium mining and waste, today and for thousands of years to come”.

Posted: 2012-08-09

Waskaganish, Eeyou Istchee, (August 9, 2012) —The James Bay Cree Nation has declared a Permanent Moratorium on uranium exploration, uranium mining and uranium waste emplacement in Eeyou Istchee, the James Bay Cree territory. The permanent moratorium was enacted unanimously by the Annual Cree Nation General Assembly in Waskaganish.
“The risks inherent in uranium exploration, mining, milling, refining and transport, and in radioactive and toxic uranium mining waste, are incompatible with our stewardship responsibilities in Eeyou Istchee,” the Resolution declares.

“The Cree Nation is determined to protect our economies and way of life against the unique and grave threat posed by uranium mining and uranium waste, today and for thousands of years to come,” said Grand Chief Dr. Matthew Coon Come. “We are not opposed to sustainable and equitable mining and other industrial and resource development activities in Eeyou Istchee – but the toxic and radiation risks created by uranium mining and uranium waste are unique in scale and duration.”

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What Makes a Critical Metal “Critical” or a Strategic Element “Strategic”? – by Michael S. Fulp (The Mercenary Geologist – August 6, 2012)

I was a keynote speaker at the recent Murdock Capital Partners Critical Metals / Strategic Elements Symposium in New York City. This is my second gig at one of convener Tom Dean’s on-going series of symposia and I thank him for continuing support. Although the venue is small, intimate, and limited to 75 attendees, the investor quality is second to none, particularly in the amount of money represented and managed. In my presentation I categorized the metals critical to modern-day civilization and reviewed the minor metals that are increasingly used by society in new technological applications.

Recently a plethora of alternative names have been proposed and promoted for what were once known as the specialty or minor metals. These mostly obscure elements span the gamut from the lightest to the heaviest on the periodic table. In my opinion, analysts and investors alike have become confused by these newly-invented misnomers.

Much of the confusion can be blamed squarely on two recent reports from the United States government.

In December 2010, the US Department of Energy (DOE) produced a report entitled “Critical Metals Strategy”. It identified seven rare earth elements and three minor metals (lithium, indium, and tellurium) that are or could become in high demand and short supply from 2011-2025. The DOE list and analysis was predicated on future growth fueled by Obama’s proposed subsidies of the electric and hybrid vehicle, wind turbine, solar, and fluorescent lighting industries.

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Northern communities consider hosting facility – by Heidi Ulrichsen – (Sudbury Northern Life – June 9, 2012)

This article came from Northern Life, Sudbury’s biweekly newspaper.

If the entire current stock of used nuclear fuel in Canada were stacked like cordwood, it could fit into the space the size of six hockey arenas, from the ice surface to the top of the boards.
Of course, used nuclear fuel isn’t stored in hockey arenas. But what exactly happens to it? The uranium dioxide pellets are contained in half-metre-long cylindrical bundles made of a strong, corrosion-resistant metal called Zircaloy.

So far, in the 40 years nuclear power has been used in this country, we’ve produced two million of these bundles. After coming out of a nuclear power plant reactor, this material is “cooled” in pools of water known as used fuel bays on site at nuclear facilities for at least 10 years, until it becomes less radioactive.

Then it’s moved from the used fuel bays into robust concrete and steel containers, and stored in large warehouses on the station site. Although these containers are designed to last at least 50 years, they’re not a permanent solution.

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China eyes Canadian uranium mines – by Shirley Won (Globe and Mail – March 22, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Takeover activity is poised to heat up in the Canadian uranium sector as energy-hungry China hunts for feedstock to fuel its growing family of nuclear reactors.

The state-controlled China Daily recently reported that the country plans to buy more uranium mines abroad, and is looking in Canada. China also expects to import more uranium this year as its nuclear program resumes after being halted following Japan’s Fukushima nuclear disaster.

China has 15 reactors in operation and 25 under construction, and plans to build another 50. It imports nearly all its uranium from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Namibia and Australia.

“It comes as a surprise” that China is showing its hand by publicly targeting this country’s miners, which could boost the prices of potential acquisitions, said Versant Partners analyst Rob Chang.

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The Nuclear Revival: Mark Lackey – by Brian Sylvester (The Energy Report – March 8, 2012)

This interview came from:

Emerging from the shadow of Fukushima, the nuclear sector is on the cusp of a comeback, according to Mark Lackey, chief investment strategist with Toronto-based Pope & Company. Nuclear plants have been reopened, and as many as 200 new plants worldwide are scheduled to come online. At the same time, uranium supply shortages loom on the horizon, making for bullish fundamentals for uranium miners. Lackey’s faith in the coal sectors also burns brightly. He reveals his favorites in both sectors in this exclusive Energy Report interview.

Energy Report: The Fukushima disaster, protests in Australia over lifting a ban on uranium exploration, and a fire aboard a Russian nuclear submarine in December indicate negative sentiment toward nuclear power. Why would investors risk exposure to a commodity that is so price sensitive to events like these?

Mark Lackey: The fundamentals of the uranium sector still look good. Worldwide, 1.3 billion (B) people lack electricity. In China, load growth for electricity is 10% annually; in India, 8%. That growth is unlikely to diminish any time soon. Nuclear power has to be considered as an option to meet demand.

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Nuclear waste storage depot attracts southern Ontario towns – by John Spears (Toronto Star – February 22, 2012)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

You can call it a repository for used nuclear fuel in an adaptive phased management program. You can call it a nuclear waste site.

Either way, a surprising cluster of municipalities in south-western Ontario’s rural heartland are saying they might want to be the place where Canada’s spent nuclear fuel is stored for thousands of years.

No final decisions on a waste site have been made – or will be for several years, under the multi-step process put in place by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization.

And the western Ontario municipalities who are showing interest will be judged against sites proposed by other communities scattered across Canada. But it’s a surprising show of interest for a region of the country best known for green fields, blue water and Alice Munro.

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Canada opens doors to uranium trade with China – by Kip Keen ( – February 11, 2012)

The big talking point in Canada is that as Chinese-Canadian relations warm up, so too will Canadian uranium in Chinese nuclear reactors.

HALIFAX, NS – Uranium producers in Canada got a heavy dose of good news as the country’s Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, abolished trade rules that banned the export of uranium to China.

Prime Minister Harper, who has been on a trade mission in China with Canadian business leaders, made the announcement as part of a slew of other agreements between China and Canada.

The Canadian government will amend a 1994 nuclear agreement between the two countries to allow uranium exports to China, though the exact details of what the amendment would say is unclear. Chinese and Canadian officials are to work them out over the coming months, a federal government statement said.

Government officials in Canada touted the uranium deal on two fronts, economic and environmental.

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Uranium deal with china ‘important’ for Saskatchewan – by Joe Couture (Saskatoon Star Phoenix – January 10, 2012)

Wall claims ‘great day’ for province

An agreement that is expected to allow Canadian companies to ship uranium to China is “very, very important” for Saskatchewan, Premier Brad Wall said on Thursday in reaction to news from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit to the Asian superpower.

“It’s a great day for Saskatchewan and we want to thank the federal government and the prime minister for raising a very Saskatchewan issue on their trade mission and making progress,” Wall told reporters Thursday at the Legislative Building.

Though a small amount of Saskatchewan uranium has been shipped to China before under special agreements, the new trade agreement signed by Harper is expected to allow Saskatchewan producers to directly sell Canadian yellowcake – a type of uranium concentrate powder – to China, he continued.

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A Vast Canadian Wilderness Poised for a Uranium Boom – by Ed Struzik (Yale Environment – January 30, 20120

This article is from Yale Environment

Canadian author and photographer Ed Struzik has been writing on the Arctic for three decades.

Canada’s Nunavut Territory is the largest undisturbed wilderness in the Northern Hemisphere. It also contains large deposits of uranium, generating intense interest from mining companies and raising concerns that a mining boom could harm the caribou at the center of Inuit life.

Until her semi-nomadic family moved into the tiny Inuit community of Baker Lake in the 1950s, Joan Scottie never knew there was a wider world beyond her own on the tundra of the Nunavut Territory in the Canadian Arctic. She didn’t see the inside of a school until she was a teenager and didn’t venture south until she was an adult.

But that all changed in 1978, when a Soviet satellite carrying 100 pounds of enriched uranium for an onboard nuclear reactor crashed into the middle of the wilderness she knew so well, resulting in a military search that recovered some of the radioactive debris. Everything that Scottie learned about uranium after that convinced her she wanted nothing to do with a mineral that had the potential to cause such serious health problems or be used for military purposes.

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Cameco’s requests to nuclear commission opposed by Northwatch – by Dan Bellerose (Sault Star – January 24, 2012)

This article came from:

The largest commercial uranium refinery in the western world, located 140 kilometres east of Sault Ste. Marie, immediately west of Blind River, is seeking to double its licence period and increase production capacity.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission heard the application from Cameco Blind River late last week in Port Hope, Ont., and a decision is expected in the coming weeks.

Cameco, whose current five-year licence expires Feb. 29, wants to double its operating licence period from five years, to 10 years, and increase production capacity by 6,000 tonnes, from 18,000 to 24,000 tonnes.

“Our environmental and safety performance merits a longer licence term,” says Bill Koch, director of public and government affairs for the Cameco fuel services division.

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Atomic Wasteland series: Why Canada’s nuclear cleanup will cost billions and take decades – by Ian MacLeod (Ottawa Citizen – December 19, 2011)

It lights our Christmas trees, drives industry, makes medicine, heats our homes and is carbon-free. Nuclear power has a back end, too. Radwaste.

More than 240,000 tonnes of intensely radioactive civilian waste has piled up around the globe since the dawning of the atomic age.

Sixty years on, no one is sure yet how to safely and permanently dispose of the stuff, much of it harmful to living organisms for thousands of years.

Canada’s share of the high-level heap stands at 44,000 tonnes. Virtually all is spent uranium fuel bundles — 2.3 million of them — that powered the commercial and research reactors that made Canada a leading nuclear nation.

“If you don’t respect it, you can get hit pretty hard,” says Don Howard, director of the wastes and decommissioning division for the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC).

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Why more than a dozen towns are considering hosting Canada’s high-level radioactive waste – by Tom Spears (Ottawa Citizen – December 16, 2011)

Who would want a pile of used fuel from nuclear reactors that will be radioactive for millennia? William Elliott does. Badly enough to fight for it.

The boss at the economic development corporation serving the Elliot Lake region sees the upside of something that usually provokes gut reactions of not-in-my-back-yard. “There’s the obvious economic impact of 700 to 1,000 permanent full-time jobs (and) $16 billion to $24 billion of direct investment,” he says.

“It’s going to be one of the biggest economic development projects in Canadian history.” Put that way, maybe it’s not so hard to see why Elliot Lake and its neighbours are campaigning to become the place where Canada buries all our high-level radioactive waste.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization is looking for a site to sink thousands of tonnes of used reactor fuel forever, replacing the temporary storage that Canada has used for 60 years.

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