The world can’t ignore North Korea’s nuclear progression WP, By Editorial Board August 17 CHARTING THE course of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program has always required painstaking detective work. Because the country is so closed to outsiders, hints have been drawn from sources such as atmospheric samples, seismic data and satellite photographs. A new building or roof on an industrial factory has often pointed to activity inside. North Korea once gave a visiting American scientist an eyeful: a sprawling array of new uranium enrichment centrifuges that hadn’t been detected previously.
This is why there are serious worries about uranium mining and milling in North Korea as described in a new report from Jeffrey Lewis of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Analyzing satellite photographs and other information, Mr. Lewis has published evidence on the Web site 38 North, which is run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, that North Korea is “expanding its capacity to mine and mill natural uranium.” The information doesn’t confirm what the uranium is to be used for; it might be for nuclear power reactors, or it might be for nuclear weapons. Mr. Lewis found evidence of “significant refurbishment” at a uranium concentration plant at Pyongsan that turns ore into yellowcake. Pyongsan is the most important uranium mine and mill in the country.
This new hint comes on top of an earlier report this year from the same institute that suggested North Korea is moving toward a bigger, better nuclear arsenal that could put it on par with Pakistan and Israel. …….https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-world-cant-ignore-north-koreas-nuclear-progression/2015/08/17/6e74a664-42ca-11e5-8e7d-9c033e6745d8_story.html
This uranium project could haunt the Grand Canyon region for decades to come,” said Katie Davis with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Uranium mining leaves a highly toxic legacy that endangers human health, wildlife and the streams and aquifers that feed the Grand Canyon. It’s disappointing to see the Forest Service prioritizing the extraction industry over the long-term protection of a place as iconic as the Grand Canyon.”
‘Beyond Unacceptable’: Judge OKs Uranium Mine at Grand Canyon s underground aquifers. Slamming ruling, conservationists warn of irreversible contamination of the canyon’s underground aquifers.By Reynard Loki / AlterNet August 12, 2015 In June, the Grand Canyon was named one of the “Most Endangered Places” in America by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. But the designation came just two months too late to possibly influence U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell. In April, he denied a request by the Havasupai tribe and a coalition of conservation groups to halt new uranium mining next to Grand Canyon National Park, just six miles from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
“We are very disappointed with the ruling by Judge Campbell in the Canyon Mine case,” said Havasupai Chairman Rex Tilousi. “We believe that the National Historic Preservation Act requires the Forest Service to consult with us and the other affiliated tribes before they let the mining company damage Red Butte, one of our most sacred traditional cultural properties.” He said that the Havasupai Tribal Council would appeal the decision.
Cleaning Up Contamination? Next to Impossible Continue reading
BAPE cites ‘uncertainties’ and ‘low acceptability’ in report on future of uranium mining in Quebec, Montreal Gazette, PRESSE CANADIENNEJuly 17, 2015 By Stéphanie Marin
The Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE) concluded that would be inappropriate to give the green light to uranium mining in Quebec right now. Their findings were presented to the provincial government on Friday afternoon.
According to the BAPE, there are too many uncertainties and unanswered questions regarding the risks posed by uranium mining to human health and the environment.
“These uncertainties are compounded by the radioactivity of uranium residues, which may remain problematic for thousands of years,” the agency wrote in its 600-page report, dated May 2015 and entitled “The challenges of the uranium industry in Quebec.”
The report noted that social acceptability is also an issue for uranium mining.
“Because of the uncertainty and sometimes significant gaps and limitations in scientific and technological knowledge, we are very far from reaching a social and political consensus and there is very low acceptability in Quebec.”
And in areas where the potential mines would be located, “the rejection of the uranium industry is almost unanimous.”
The city of Sept-Îles, which is near a uranium mining project, has been the scene of many protests in recent years. In 2009, 20 doctors resigned from a Sept-Îles hospital to protest the construction of a uranium mine on the North Shore.
The BAPE notes that the Institut national de santé publique du Québec states that the presence of a uranium mine could create additional exposure to radiation for people living nearby.
Quebec’s environment minister asked the BAPE to address the mining industry in March 2014. Uranium mines are considered different from other mines because they emit radiation……….http://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/bape-cites-uncertainties-and-low-acceptability-in-report-on-future-of-uranium-mining-in-quebec
“[Johannesburg] is undoubtedly the most uranium-contaminated city in the world,”
Bench Marks, which receives support from UK charity Christian Aid, is mid-way through a three-year impact assessment of pollution levels in an around Johannesburg’s Soweto district. By systematically tracking air and water contamination, Bench Marks hopes to provide a scientific basis for the alleged health impacts of the tailings
Radioactive city: how Johannesburg’s townships are paying for its mining past, Guardian, Oliver Balch , 6 July 15
Much of the waste from 600 abandoned mines around South Africa’s largest city is piled high next to residential communities – most of which are poor and black Plaatjies is one of tens of thousands in Johannesburg’s impoverished townships who are paying a high cost for the city’s rich mining past. More than 600 abandoned mines surround South Africa’s largest city, with much of their waste now piled up high next to residential communities – most of which are poor and black.
Residents here fear the wind most. When it blows, fine particles from these man-made dumps are carried up into the air and deposited on to residents’ homes. It is no ordinary dust, either: the residue of decades of mining, it can contain traces of everything from copper and lead to cyanide and arsenic.
“During August and September, the dust is terrible. You stop cleaning the floor after a while. It’s just useless,” says Plaatjies.
In the local clinic, respiratory cases such as tuberculosis and asthma are ubiquitous across all age groups, says Musa Mbatha, chairman of the clinic’s civic committee. Rashes and skins diseases are commonplace, too.
“People can’t afford to buy food every day, so they leave the food and it gets contaminated,” Mbatha adds. “The government said that it would do a survey of the health impacts of the mining dust, but until today it hasn’t happened.”
An even more dangerous pollutant is lurking in Johannesburg’s mine dumps, however: radioactive waste. According to one university study, an estimated 600,000 metric tonnes of radioactive uranium are buried in waste rock in and around Johannesburg – around three times what was exported during the Cold War. Continue reading
Uranium Energy Corporation: The Bad News Buried In The Recent Sale [excellent graphs and chart] CNA Finance 19 Jun e15 Uranium mining company Uranium Energy Corp (UEC) is digging all the love it’s getting from the market right now. But after we mined into company documents, we couldn’t resist humming the cowboy song, “You Done Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat.”
Uranium Energy looks ready to do just that to investors.
The company has not responded to TheStreetSweeper’s request for comment but investors may find other viewpoints here. Meanwhile, we’ve leaned on some ol’ country songs to help us croon out the risks.
*”If The Jukebox Took Teardrops,” Or Market’s Feeling The Pain
While UEC stock is up, the company’s peers are all down. The reason the sector’s performance remains so terrible is because uranium spot prices of about $36 are at a five-year low,
So these factors indicate that UEC’s recent price performance is unsustainable because the fundamentals of the company (more on that below) and the sector have not improved. We expect the stock will collapse as it follows the path set by peers.
*UEC is “Busted”
UEC reports zero sales in the past seven quarters from its sole producer, the Palangana Mine. UEC and other uranium companies were hurt after the Fukushima nuclear disaster hit in March 2011. Public pressure mounted and the negative effects have lingered and lower oil and gas prices have made the situation worse as of late for uranium companies. During its spotty history, UEC generated “no revenues from the sale of U3O8 generated during Fiscal 2014 or prior to Fiscal 2012.”
No surprise, then, that UEC shareholders have endured a long history of horrid earnings:………http://cnafinance.com/uranium-energy-corporation-the-bad-news-buried-in-the-recent-sale/4088
Follow the Money http://majiasblog.blogspot.jp/2015/05/follow-money.html I’ve been following the money for the uranium supply chain:
I turned over a rock and found Goldman Sachs is one of the world’s biggest, if not the biggest, uranium trader through its control of Nufcor.
2008 June 26, Nufcor was bought by the Constellation Energy Group, a U.S. firm that operated several nuclear power plants, for about $103 million. (Exelon has owned Constellation Energy since 2011)
2009 Goldman acquires Nufcor from Constellation Energy as part of a purchase of 900,000 pounds of uranium. Nufcor is the biggest private trader of uranium.
Details about Goldman’s uranium venture are included in the 2014 US Senate report chaired by Carl Levin and including Senator John McCain title: “Wall Street Bank’s Involvement with Physical Commodities”: From Senate Report: page 113 Constellation Acquisition. After its conversion to a bank holding company, Goldman continued to expand its physical commodity activities. In 2009, according to a Goldman presentation to the Federal Reserve, Goldman purchased over 3,000 trading assets involving U.K., French, and German power and U.K. natural gas; as well as about 60 coal contracts, 20 time and voyage freight agreements, and 900,000 pounds of uranium ore from Constellation Energy, a U.S. utility and trading business.Included in that acquisition was Nufcor International, a uranium trading company which stored and traded uranium ore in various stages of enrichment, as further described below…
…Page 124: In 2009, Goldman purchased Nufcor, and expanded its business over the
next five years, resulting in Goldman’s buying millions of pounds of uranium, controlling inventories of physical uranium at storage facilities in the United States and Europe, and becoming a long term supplier of physical uranium to nine utilities with nuclear power plants. Because no employees who conducted Nufcor’s business joined Goldman after the sale, Goldman employees ran the business. In 2014, for a variety of reasons, Goldman decided it would sell Nufcor or wind it down…
I find no evidence that Goldman has successfully sold Nufcor. Since 2011 Constellation Energy, which no longer owns Nufcor, has been owned by Exelon.http://www.constellation.com/about-constellation/pages/about-us.aspx
In 2006 and 2007 hedge funds piled into Uranium. Goldman is noteworthy because of the scope of its involvement the leverage that involvement affords it over uranium pricing and, no doubt, demand.
If you want to know why nuclear is pursued despite its obvious costs and risks, there is no better place to begin understanding than addressing who benefits from the global uranium trade.
Shares in Rio Tinto’s Australian uranium unit halve, Ft.com , 12 June 15 Jamie Smyth in Sydney Rio Tinto has withdrawn its support for the expansion of one of the world’s biggest uranium mines, causing shares in its separately listed subsidiary Energy Resources of Australia to almost halve in value.
The decision by the Anglo-Australian miner underscores the difficulties in the nuclear industry following the Fukushima meltdown in 2011, which prompted Japan to mothball its 43 operable reactors.
Since soaring to a record high of US$137 per pound in 2007, uranium prices have fallen to US$35 per pound — a level at which many miners are losing money and new investment does not make economic sense.
“After careful consideration, Rio Tinto has determined that it does not support any further study or the future development” of ERA’s proposed underground uranium mine “due to the project’s economic challenges,” the miner said.
Shares in ERA were down 46 per cent at A$0.70 in mid-afternoon trading in Sydney on Friday.
Up until 2008, the Ranger mine in Australia’s Northern Territory was producing almost 10 per cent of the global supply of uranium. But the open cut mine is now exhausted and ERA was conducting feasibility studies on developing an underground mine, Ranger 3 Deeps.
This week, ERA, which is 68 per cent owned by Rio, said it was committed to revisiting the underground project once the uranium market has recovered. But the decision by Rio to rule out support for the future development of the mine casts serious doubt on whether the project will ever happen………..http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/f24a6a9a-10b7-11e5-b4dc-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3csmrhS7I
Iranian Professor: The Costs of Enriching Uranium Have Hurt Iran http://www.thetower.org/2156-iranian-professor-the-costs-of-enriching-uranium-have-hurt-iran/ by TheTower.org Staff | 06.12.15 In a public debate last month against an advisor to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollahi Ali Khamenei, Prof. Sadegh Zibakalam of Tehran University, who is associated with the reformist movement in Iran, argued that Iran’s enrichment program has been expensive for the country with little benefit. His remarks were translated Tuesday by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“I’m not saying that the nuclear [program] is bad; it’s good. But at what cost? Now they will say ‘Zibakalam said we don’t need a nuclear [program]’… The political, partisan, and factional conduct on this [nuclear] issue must be resolved. Does the nuclear [program] exist for the sake of the state, or does the state exist for it? Must Iran be sacrificed for the sake of the nuclear [program], or should we sacrifice the nuclear [program] for the sake of Iran?”Zibakalam argued that enriching uranium has huge direct operating costs, but the penalties for having an illicit enrichment program has hurt Iran even more. Zibakalam suggested that Iran would have been better off buying enriched uranium and incurring neither cost.
Zibakalam, who was sentenced to prison last year for questioning Iran’s nuclear program, made several references during the debate to not being allowed to express an opinion about the nuclear program. In a different forum last year, Zibakalam said that Iran’s threats against Israel were the reason Iran’s nuclear program is viewed with suspicion.
Uranium Energy posts third-quarter loss of $5.3 million
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) _ Uranium Energy Corp. (UEC) on Tuesday reported a loss of $5.3 million in its fiscal third quarter…….http://finance.yahoo.com/news/uranium-energy-reports-3q-loss-101556220.html
The uranium sector DUNDEE CAPITAL MARKETS The Globe and Mail , May. 21 2015 “…..We have concerns regarding negative impact to investor and utility/trader sentiment, which could manifest itself in the already thin spot uranium market. The two other news items might influence investor sentiment but essentially cancel each other out. Uranium stocks retreated yesterday, followed by the price.”
Tepco looking to sell some uranium stockpiles to cut costs Japan Times, 19 May 15 Tokyo Electric Power Co. is planning to sell part of its uranium stockpiles for nuclear power generation in the current business year to cut costs amid uncertainty over the restart of idled nuclear plants, a company document obtained by Kyodo News showed Monday.
Tepco has not consumed uranium since the 2011 nuclear crisis started at its Fukushima No. 1 complex that eventually resulted in all of Japan’s nuclear reactors being taken offline amid safety concerns. By reducing the stockpiles, the utility is seeking to slash costs for managing them as it faces funding difficulties stemming from the nuclear crisis.
According to the document, Tepco aims to reduce the amount of uranium to levels prior to the Fukushima disaster by the end of fiscal 2015 through March. The company estimated in the paper it can secure ¥12.3 billion ($103.13 million) by selling around half of the planned amount……..
Major utilities including Tepco procure uranium, which could be diverted to military use, under long-term contracts from overseas suppliers in Canada and elsewhere.
As of the end of March, Tepco had a total of 17,570 tons of uranium (tU), equivalent to the amount used at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant for 10 years, compared with 16,805 tU at the time of the nuclear disaster in March 2011.
The amount would increase to 19,317 tU in fiscal 2015 if the company does not sell some of the stockpile.The utility will likely return it to the suppliers or pay for the costs of uranium enrichment in kind, while it will also consider terminating uranium purchase contracts and reducing purchase volumes to streamline its business, according to the document.
Japan Atomic Power Co. has also taken the rare step of selling some of its uranium, apparently to raise money to repay loans amid its faltering business conditions. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2015/05/19/business/corporate-business/tepco-looking-sell-uranium-stockpiles-cut-costs/#.VVv7z7mqpHw
Uranium daily spot price down 35 cents from week ago to $35.65/lb Washington (Platts)–19 May2015
The uranium daily spot price was $35.65/lb U3O8 Monday, down 35 cents from a week ago, according to price publisher TradeTech.
The daily U3O8 spot price had held steady at $36/lb during four trading days, May 8-13, TradeTech reported. The spot price declined 25 cents on Thursday and by another 10 cents, to $35.65/lb, on Friday, according to TradeTech, which Monday reported it unchanged…….http://www.platts.com/latest-news/electric-power/washington/uranium-daily-spot-price-down-35-cents-from-week-21469982
Namibia’s Rossing Uranium revenue tumbled in 2014 – official, Star Africa May 19, 2015 The impact of lower prices and the lower production figures in 2014 has strained Rossing Uranium’s revenue, which declined by 19 per cent compared to the previous year, leading to a net loss after tax of N$91 million (about US$8 million), compared to N$32 million (about US$2.7 million) profit in 2013.
The company’s turnover in 2014 was N$2.4 billion (about US$201 million), down from N$2.9 billion (about US$243 million) in 2013.
Managing director Werner Duvenhage revealed in a statement issued to APA on Tuesday that 2014 was a tough year due to continued decline of uranium globally, putting substantial pressure on the business.
â€œThe challenging times currently experienced in our industry are mainly because of global influences. It was a tough year because the uranium price continued to decline globally, putting substantial pressure on our business, with the average uranium spot market price at US$33 (N$333) per lbs, much lower than the US$38 (N$418)) per lbs average in 2013,â€� he explained……….
Unfortunately, the uranium price declined further during the first half of the year, leading to a management and board decision to curtail production and meet only contractual commitments, with the resulting curtailment production plan effective from August 2014,â€� he said.
â€œThe 2011 tsunami in Japan and its impact on the Fukushima nuclear plant still continued to plague the uranium market in 2014, with excess supply causing a decline in market prices.
â€œNuclear plants in Japan remained off-line for most of the year. Supply has increased over the three years since the Fukushima incident.
â€œThis is a recipe for continued weak prices in the near term. Utilities are holding large stocks in all forms, which defer their need to buy for one to three years on averageâ€�……http://en.starafrica.com/news/namibias-rossing-uranium-revenue-tumbled-in-2014-official.html
The concerns come as Greenland Minerals and Energy, an Australia-based mining outfit, closes in on final approval to begin production rare earths, a mineral vital for use in modern technologies……
in order to extract rare earths, GME will also need to mine uranium as a by-product, and that has raised fears, particularly among farmers, sheep farmers and those making a living off tourism, that dust from the open-pit facility will taint the region’s soil and water, and in the process spoil the region’s image.
Instead representatives from Urani Naamik, an anti-uranium group, together with IA, the main opposition party, have put forward 17 proposals they say could help to stimulate job growth in other sectors of the economy, including agriculture, fishing and bottling of glacial meltwater.
Until 2013, mining uranium in Greenland was explicitly banned. A law change opened up the possibility for such operations to be approved, but the issue remains divisive.
“We’re told that without a mine out at Kvanefjeld, Narsaq will die. We say that Narsaq will die if the build a mine it will kill Narsaq,” Mariane Paviasen, a Urani Naamik representative, said in April…….
Another criticism of the Kvanefjeld mine is that GME intends to dump tailings, a miner’s term for unwanted material, into a lake close by the facility. Berthlesen defends the process, calling it the best way to protect the surrounding area against possible radiation from the tailings.
Urani Naamik, however, wants an independent study looking into the mine’s environmental impact to be conducted. …..http://arcticjournal.com/oil-minerals/1583/uranium-opponents-look-other-sectors-job-growth
Uranium prices have taken a turn for the worse due to a combination of factors that pulled the floor from underneath the commodity.
Back in November 2014, prices spiked from $28 per pound to $44 per pound. This was largely due to the sanctions imposed on Russia after the annexation of Crimea, thus portending a supply shortage.
But the price is currently close to $35 per pound. And technical indicators are pointing south once again……..
France was so confident in its atomic energy capabilities that, about 10 years ago, the French nuclear establishment made a bet on a new generation of reactors using European pressurize reactor (EPR) technology. These reactors were touted as the safest and most powerful ever made.
But, France isn’t living up to its promises. New plants that would ostensibly showcase the most cutting edge of nuclear energy prowess are years behind schedule and billions of euros over budget. Some are as much as three times more expensive than the original cost projections! At this point, many are questioning if they’ll ever be completed.
Plus, The New York Times reported on April 7 that one reactor, the Autorite de Surete Nucleaire, had discovered imperfections in the steel used by Areva (AREVA.PA) to make the caps of the main reactor vessel.
The caps contain the extreme heat, pressure, and radiation produced by nuclear fission. These same parts were used for a plant under construction in Taishan, China, which is being built in partnership with France……http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2015/05/15/uranium-commodity-concerns/
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