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INFOGRAPHIC: Visualizing the changing landscape in nuclear power #uranium

INFOGRAPHIC: Visualizing the changing landscape in nuclear power

Visual Capitalist | September 16, 2014

There’s been talk about a coming potential uranium bull market for awhile now, but here is a different look at the nuclear picture. The below visualization shows every nuclear reactor in the world by country and breaks down their timeline including construction, commercial power generation, and decommissioning. In addition, planned reactors for the future are also shown for each country.

This data visualization makes it clear where the future of nuclear is. Former nuclear stalwarts such as France, Germany, and the UK all have aging reactors with no new plants planned. Meanwhile, China and Russia do not seem to be afraid of leaning heavily on nuclear energy in the near future. In China alone, 28 or 49 reactors are under construction and there are an additional 35 planned for the future. This is despite nuclear only accounting for 2% of Chinese energy supply in 2012.

Also of note is Japan, which once relied on 29% of its energy coming from nuclear before the Fukushima accident in 2011. In recent years, Japan has cut nuclear out of their grid, although some reactors are still technically operational. To make up the difference, they have imported more natural gas and oil.

Original graphic from: Popular Science

Oil-reliant firms at risk as world moves toward low-carbon future: report #uranium

Oil-reliant firms at risk as world moves toward low-carbon future: report
Shawn McCarthy
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, Sep. 16 2014, 12:01 AM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, Sep. 16 2014, 12:01 AM EDT
Economic growth and job creation can be maintained even if countries adopt strong carbon pricing to combat climate change, argues an international commission in a report to be released at the United Nations today.
But countries and companies that rely on investments in high-carbon fossil fuels – such as coal and oil sands bitumen – run a tremendous risk as the world moves toward a low-carbon future and those assets are left stranded with an economic marketplace, the report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate warns.
The commission was established by eight governments, including Colombia, Indonesia, Norway and Britain, and had as its co-chair former Mexican president Felipe Calderon and British economist Nicholas Stern, who served as a senior adviser to the British government on climate change.
Its report comes as international leaders prepare to meet at the UN Secretary-General’s climate summit in New York next week, a meeting that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will not attend but will delegate to Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is hoping his summit will build momentum for the conclusion of an international agreement at the climate summit in Paris in late 2015.
The Conservative government has adopted some key climate measures, including the phase-out of traditional coal-fired electricity and significant increases in fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. But the Prime Minister is no longer promising new regulations on the oil and gas sector, where booming oil sands production is driving up greenhouse emissions and threatens to swamp progress elsewhere.
In contrast with U.S. President Barack Obama, who has made climate change a cornerstone of his agenda, Mr. Harper made no mention of the issue in his campaign-style speech opening the fall sitting of Parliament on Monday. He has often portrayed a climate action as presenting a trade-off between environmental protection and growth, which is especially worrisome to an Alberta that relies on oil sands expansion to drive its economy.
The report from the international commission concludes that making progress on the climate would not come at the expense of the global economy, but that there will have to be a sharp shift away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels if the world is going to avoid the worst impact of a changing climate. Those impacts would in turn impose devastating costs on the global economy.
“It is possible to get economic growth and at the same time tackle climate change,” Mr. Calderon told a conference call last week. “But it will require structural changes in the coming years.”
It urged the dramatic reduction in the use of coal in the electricity sector; the end to fossil-fuel subsidies; a strong and growing carbon price; rapid technological change and the adoption of non-GHG-emitting energy sources.
While environmentalists have often focused on the oil sands as a major contributor of greenhouse gas emissions, the commission did not single out the Alberta-based industry. It did, however, recommend a series of measures that would dramatically reduce the use of oil as a transportation fuel, and the project’s director, Jeremy Oppenheim, said there are clear implications for the oil sands producers.
“My view is that betting on a highest-cost, highest-carbon form of oil is a quite a high-risk bet for companies and countries to make at this point given the way in which the technological and market forces are playing out in the global economy,” said Mr. Oppenheim, who is on leave as a partner in McKinsey & Co. consulting firm.

Video Update: Fission Uranium’s World-Class, High-Grade Uranium Discovery in Saskatchewan #uranium

Video Update: Fission Uranium’s World-Class, High-Grade Uranium Discovery

View Fission Uranium’s latest video covering the latest exploration at its high-grade, shallow-depth PLS discovery as well as company progress in general.

Uranium price rally unlikely to last #uranium

Uranium price rally unlikely to last
by: Rhiannon Hoyle
From: Dow Jones
September 15, 2014 10:09AM
A MULTI-WEEK rally in uranium prices fanned by the Ukraine conflict and labour unrest at a large mine in Canada looks unlikely to continue for long as the reality of oversupply and lacklustre demand sinks in among buyers of the nuclear fuel.
Industry analysts and some uranium producers believe that even as supplies fall, a substantial increase in demand is needed to drive prices up to levels that would make new investments worthwhile, when many operations are running at a loss.
Uranium prices have surged 15 per cent since the start of August, shaking off a multi-year glut-induced slump. A gauge of more than 20 commodities, meanwhile, dropped more than 4 per cent. Uranium now trades at $US32.75 a pound, up from a nine-year low of $US28 in May.
The gain was fuelled partly by speculation that Western sanctions against Russia over its conduct in Ukraine could squeeze supplies. Russia produces only 5 per cent of the world’s uranium but is a leading provider of enrichment services to many Western utility companies.
Prices also surged after production was interrupted by a labour dispute at Cameco Corp’s McArthur River operation, the world’s largest uranium mine, in Saskatchewan, Canada.
“Let’s not get carried away by the little blip that’s happened in the past few weeks,” Rio Tinto’s energy chief executive, Harry Kenyon-Slaney, said at a recent event in Sydney. The market had been so weak for so long that the 15 per cent lift in prices was of little help to mining companies, he said.
Demand for the fuel hasn’t recovered since the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear-power plant in 2011, which sparked nuclear-plant closures across the country and tarnished uranium’s image globally.
Still, some analysts are convinced that the uranium market is strengthening gradually. Macquarie Group reckons that an oversupply of almost 12,000 tonnes last year will shrink to 3200 tonnes this year.
Reductions in supply may prevent prices sinking back to their recent lows, but a sustained recovery could be a way off, according to Macquarie’s Stefan Ljubisavljevic. It was difficult to see anything but a surplus for the next five years unless some unprofitable mines closed, he said. The only major facility to have been closed recently was Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera mine in Malawi.
The biggest producers of the fuel, such as Rio Tinto, aren’t betting on a quick recovery but remain upbeat about uranium’s longer-term outlook as countries such as China and India bring new reactors online.
Macquarie, which anticipates a 6 per cent drop in output from uranium mines this year, estimates that around half the industry could be unprofitable at current prices.
“The industry is going through some very tough times, but at some point, new production will have to be incentivised to deliver into the power programs, particularly in China,” said Rio Tinto’s Mr Kenyon-Slaney.
China has stepped up efforts to introduce cleaner energy and has the world’s largest pipeline of nuclear-power plants.
Australia recently struck a deal for its mining companies to sell uranium for use in India.
Japan’s nuclear watchdog this month said two reactors at the Sendai plant on the southern island of Kyushu had met stricter guidelines imposed after the Fukushima accident — putting them first in line among the country’s 48 idled reactors to be restarted. But antinuclear sentiment after the disaster means it is unclear when the reactors might return to service.
Meanwhile, state governments in Australia have been encouraging the growth of the nation’s uranium industry. A decades-long ban on uranium production in Queensland was lifted in July, opening the door to new applications to build mines in the state. The government of New South Wales this month said it would invite six companies to apply for exploration licenses.
Still, there is expected to be little investment in new projects until the market stages a more substantial comeback. Cameco said it would need to see much higher uranium prices before it started construction of its proposed Kintyre uranium mine in Western Australia.
“The nuclear industry is still in the midst of upheaval,” said Jonathan Hinze, senior vice president at nuclear-research firm Ux Consulting. But he said there was some hope for the industry, given decreased willingness among traders and producers to undercut each other’s prices to win customers.

Cameco lockout at Canada uranium mine ends – union #uranium

Cameco lockout at Canada uranium mine ends – union
Sept 12 (Reuters) – Canadian uranium producer Cameco Corp and the union for 535 workers at the world’s largest uranium mine have agreed to a tentative deal ending a nearly two-week lockout, an official with United Steelworkers said on Friday.
Mike Pulak, a staff representative for United Steelworkers, said workers would begin returning to the McArthur River, Saskatchewan mine and Key Lake mill as early as Friday.
The mine and mill have been shut since Cameco locked out workers Aug. 30.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

Nuclear’s ‘key role’ in meeting climate change challenge #uranium

Nuclear’s ‘key role’ in meeting climate change challenge

11 September 2014

Meeting the energy needs of a growing global population while tackling climate change is the “biggest diplomatic challenge of the era,” according to leading climate change expert Professor Sir David King. Nuclear energy, he suggests, has a key role to play in most regions of the world to meet this challenge.

King, the UK foreign secretary’s special representative for climate change at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told delegates during the opening session of the World Nuclear Association’s 2014 Annual Symposium today that an increasing global population will lead to “enormous new energy demand.” He said by 2030, there will be an estimated 4.5 billion middle-class people around the world, all driving demand for electricity.

However, King said, “The planet is rather exhausted by the way we used it in the 20th century … We do not have cheap commodities as a simple mechanism to regrow our economies,” he said, adding there has also been “an irreversible upward slide in oil prices.” King said there will be new challenges in the 21st century – the most important being climate change. Forecasts suggest a 4.5°C increase in global temperatures by the end of this century.

Not enough is being done to address climate change while meeting growing energy demand, King said. “Not enough has been said about what is happening in the oceans,” where increasing CO2 concentrations have raised the acidity of seawater.

The biggest threat from climate change to island nations, such as the UK, is rising sea levels and floods, he said. UK policy aims for an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions and defossilization of the electricity grid by 2050, as well as the electrification of the surface transport sector. The country’s energy policy calls for some 45-50% of its electricity generation to come from nuclear energy by 2050, by when electricity demand is projected to be some 120 GWe. King noted that 11 other countries have used the same model used by the UK in drawing up their policies.

King stated, “Actions are urgently needed to reduce energy use, and actions to make energy clean. One thing would be enough to make this happen: if clean energy became less costly to produce.”

He said that leading scientists are proposing a global ‘Apollo’ program to meet the challenge of climate change while producing sufficient clean energy for an expanding world population. Governments will need to be persuaded to sign up to the program, although joining would be voluntary. Countries taking part in the program would have to commit to spending 0.2% of their GDP on it. A roadmap would need to be determined to meeting the challenge, but one thing that is clear is that new-build renewable energy will need to be cheaper, King said.

Nuclear energy, King said, “has a key role to play in most regions of the world.” He added that some areas of the world with large population growth may find renewable energy sources more suitable than nuclear. For example, South Africa has a large desert area and therefore a large capacity for solar energy, he suggested. However, for other countries – such as the UK – which have high population densities and therefore not enough land for large-scale deployment of wind and solar energy, nuclear may be more suitable.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

The value of nuclear #uranium

The value of nuclear

11 September 2014


Liberalized electricity markets fail to appreciate the value nuclear power provides as a reliable, clean and cost-effective fuel that helps keep the grid stable, Marvin Fertel of the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) said today.

“What we find is that nuclear energy is not necessarily treated in the way it should be from the standpoint of recognizing all of the value attributes that it is bringing to a market. And because of that we in the US shut down one plant last year, have another that will be shut down at the end of this year, and we have probably somewhere between five and ten plants at risk of shutdown in competitive markets,” Fertel said.

In June 2013 the two 30-year old PWR reactors at the San Onofre nuclear plant in California were retired permanently due to regulatory delay and uncertainty following damage in the steam generators of one unit. Two months later Entergy announced that its 635 MWe Vermont Yankee reactor would be closed down at the end of this year as it had become uneconomic. Ten other nuclear plants – comprising 13 reactors – are considered to be at risk of closure, all but one of these in the northeast of the country, in deregulated states.

“Nuclear plants provide electricity 24/7, 365 days a year. In the US they provide about 20% of our electricity, which is just under 800 billion kWh a year. For about 15 years now we have been operating a fleet-wide capacity factor of about 90%,” Fertel said. “We are seeing that nuclear plants are the foundation for our baseload capacity. It’s recognized but not appreciated and not necessarily valued the way it should be and that’s part of the battle that we have.”

Price stability

Another aspect that NEI is advocating about the value of nuclear energy is price stability.

“We all hear how expensive initial capital costs [of constructing new nuclear power plants] are, but when you look at it as a 60-year life – and in America we have 40 year [operating licences] – and when you look at price, nuclear plants are very stable, both for consumers and for business,” Fertel said. “Nuclear power plants provide extremely important grid stability. Right now in competitive markets they get almost zero value for what they do and they are not known to do it until they lose it,” he said.

Nuclear facilities account for more than 60% of the USA’s non-greenhouse gas emitting generation, but the industry “gets no value for that either right now,” he said.

NEI is in talks with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the role nuclear power can play in helping the USA to meet its climate targets.

In June, the EPA called for requiring the USA’s existing power plants to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030. States will have until June 2018 to submit their final plans for complying with the rule.

“We think there is hope there, in talking with the White House, in talking with the EPA, that there is recognition of how important nuclear plants are to meet the President’s desire to reduce GHGs,” Fertel said. “We are optimistic that if the rule goes anywhere, which is questionable legally, that nuclear will be treated much better,” he said.


NEI is also calling for recognition that diversity of power supply is crucial and that the USA should not rely too heavily on shale gas.

“We have a wonderful supply of shale gas – it is relatively inexpensive, and we are producing more and more so that domestically it has become the staple to go to,” Fertel said. “We have shut down about 40,000 MW of coal plants and there will probably be another 30,000 MW that will be shut down over the next few years because of environmental requirements. They are all being replaced by gas essentially. However, overreliance on any fuel supply or technology has risk.”

Fertel cited a study issued in July by IHS – the Colorado-headquartered market and economic information provider. NEI, the Edison Electric Institute, and the Institute for 21st Century Energy at the US Chamber of Commerce supported the study, titled The Value of US Power Supply Diversity.

The study compared a base case – reflecting the current generation mix in regional US power systems during the 2010-2012 period – with a reduced diversity case involving a generating mix without meaningful contributions from coal and nuclear power and with a smaller contribution from hydroelectric power along with an increased share of renewable power. The remaining three-quarters of generation in the scenario come from natural gas-fired plants.

In this comparison, IHS found that the cost of generating electricity in the reduced diversity case was more than $93 billion higher per year and the potential variability of monthly power bills was 50% higher compared to the base case, Fertel said. As a consequence, the study calculates that the typical household’s annual disposable income to be around $2100 less in the reduced diversity scenario, there would be around one million fewer jobs compared to the base case and US gross domestic product would be nearly $200 billion less, he said.

“We are using the study, not to argue against gas, but to argue for diversity,” Fertel said.

The importance of diversity was made clear last winter by the impact of the North Polar Vortex, Fertel said. Spot natural gas prices increased tenfold to more than $30/MMBtu, pushing up wholesale electricity prices to $100/MWh, he said.

“We couldn’t get gas up to New England due to limited pipelines and transmission lines,” Fertel said. That region had switched to increased use of dual fuel from plants able to generate electricity from oil and natural gas. “That’s another example where nuclear plants got very little value,” he said.

The NEI in March launched its Nuclear Matters public affairs campaign to inform key audiences about nuclear energy’s full value proposition and to raise awareness of the economic challenges to nuclear energy that threaten those benefits. Through state-based events, the campaign will reach out to stakeholders to hear directly from them about the importance of nuclear energy to their communities and to find the solutions that will help to preserve this essential energy resource.

“We could shut down plants before their value is actually appreciated by the markets that those plants are operating in. That would be tragic,” Fertel said.

The global nuclear community has “both the phenomenal opportunity and an important responsibility”, Fertel said, to provide electricity to “not only the people that currently have it, but to the two billion around the world that don’t.”

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

Plaintiffs ponder next move after uranium suit dismissed #uranium

11 Sep 2014
The StarPhoenix
Plaintiffs ponder next move after uranium suit dismissed
The plaintiffs in a lawsuit against a pair of uranium companies and the northern village of Pinehouse are contemplating their next move after the suit was dismissed.
“We’re currently reviewing the court’s ruling and we’ll soon gather everyone involved to come to a consensus, because we haven’t even been able to reach everyone yet on how we wish to proceed,” said Candyce Paul, a spokesperson for the 40 individuals and groups involved in the suit. “We have a little under 30 days left to file an appeal and if that is what is decided, we may do that.”
The suit was an attempt to nullify a collaboration agreement Pinehouse and the Kineepik Metis Local signed with Cameco Corp. and Areva Resources Canada Inc. in 2012.
The plaintiffs have said the deal is bad for the environment and bad for the community.
In the claim, the plaintiffs alleged the agreement would harm “present and future citizens’ rights to the use of the water for drinking, washing, fishing, agriculture and recreation.”
Justice Alison Rothery dismissed the suit, saying “the collaboration agreement is a far different document than characterized in their claim.”
Paul said the ruling shows citizens have few avenues to voice their opposition to the uranium industry.
“This ruling has made it obvious that there is no recourse in this country for people who have legitimate concerns about the impacts that uranium mining has on the health of northern people today and on into the future because what they leave behind is going to affect us as long as it is there,” Paul said.
“The ballooning cancer rates and other diseases can never be termed ‘a frivolous concern.’ That is why we went to court in the first place.”
Paul said she thinks there are “blatant errors” in the ruling.
“We need to take a really good look at this,” she said. “We have learned a lot from this process and we are going to make use of it moving forward.”

Saskatchewan group scolded for ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against uranium mining deal

Saskatchewan group scolded for ‘frivolous’ lawsuit against uranium mining deal
By The Canadian Press
September 10, 2014
PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – A lawsuit involving an economic development agreement in northern Saskatchewan has been thrown out by a judge who says the challenge aimed at overturning the deal was frivolous and without merit.
The decision last Friday by Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Alison Rothery in Prince Albert followed an April court hearing.
The 2012 agreement, which includes Cameco (TSX:CCO.TO – News), Areva and the village of Pinehouse, is to provide about $200 million in economic benefits to the community over 11 years.
The lawsuit was filed by a group of nearly 40 concerned citizens and outside environmental groups who argued that the deal was secretive and could destroy the way of life in Pinehouse.
Rothery chastised the plaintiffs for trying to use the courts as a platform to express their opposition to uranium mining.
The group was ordered to pay $16,000 in court costs, or $2,000 to each of the eight defendants.
The Saskatchewan and federal governments, along with the Kineepik Metis local in the community, were among those named in the lawsuit.
Rob Gereghty, a Cameco spokesman, says the ruling came as no surprise.
“Well, we have said for some time now that this is an abuse of the legal process and a frivolous lawsuit. The judge left no doubt whatsoever that was the judge’s opinion,” he said.

Uranium demand expected to grow #uranium

Red Book looks to continued growth

10 September 2014

With an increase of more than 7% in the world’s identified uranium resources over the past two years, the resource base is more than enough to meet the needs of the nuclear power sector, which is set to grow for the foreseeable future, according to the latest edition of the OECD Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA)’s flagship publication.

Uranium 2014: Resources, Production and Demand is the 25th edition of the report, commonly known as the Red Book. Reflecting information current as of 1 January 2013, it features a comprehensive assessment of uranium supply and demand in 2013 as well as projections to 2035. The information is drawn from data from 45 uranium producing and consuming countries.

Increases in overall identified uranium resources have added almost ten years’ worth of reactor requirements to the existing resource base with total identified resources as of January 2013 standing at 5.903 million tU recoverable at costs of up to $130/kgU. However, the majority of those increases have been in categories with higher production costs, the report notes. Furthermore, the majority of the increases resulted from re-evaluations of previously identified resources plus additions to known deposits.

The increase in the resource base reflects a 23% increase in global expenditure on uranium exploration and mine development in the 2010-2012 period and the report suggests this may increase slightly in 2013.

Global production continued to grow, but at 7.6% the rate of the increase was slower than that reported in the previous Red Book. Overall, world production for 2012 stood at 58,816 tU and is projected to be more than 59,500 tU for 2013, principally due to increased production in Kazakshtan with smaller contributions from Australia, Brazil, China, Malawi, Namibia, Niger, Ukraine and the USA. In-situ leaching accounted for 45% of world production and is forecast to increase its domination still further, reaching 47.5% of total production in 2013.

Meeting growing demand

Despite energy policy changes in some European countries following the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi accident, world nuclear capacity is projected to grow to between 400 GWe (in the low-case scenario) and 680 GWe (in the highest scenario) by 2035. This would result in annual reactor-related uranium requirements of 72,000 to 122,000 tU per year by 2035.

The largest increase in capacity is projected to occur in the East Asia region, with the installation of between 57 GWe and 125 GWe by 2035. Significant additions are also projected for capacity in European countries outside the European Union, the Middle East, central and southern Asia, although the authors note that China did not report official targets for nuclear power capacity beyond 2020.

The currently defined resource base is more than adequate to meet even the high case demand, but to do so will depend upon “timely investments” given the long lead time to turn an identified resource into a producing operation, the report cautions.

“Uranium miners have been hit harder by the Fukushima Daiichi accident than any other segment of the nuclear fuel cycle,” the report notes. To bring new resource to the market, “producers will have to overcome a number of significant and at times unpredictable issues … including geopolitical factors, technical challenges and risks at some facilities, the potential development of ever more stringent regulatory requirements and the heightened expectations of governments hosting uranium mining. Sufficiently robust uranium market prices will be needed to support these activities, especially in light of the rising costs of production.”

Researched and written by World Nuclear News

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