The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

German cabinet approves landmark nuclear waste deal with utilities

Germany approves landmark nuclear waste deal with utilities: source  BERLIN (Reuters) – The German cabinet approved a deal on Wednesday for its top utilities to start paying into a 23.6-billion-euro ($25.9 billion) fund next year in return for shifting liability for nuclear waste storage to the government, a source said.

The agreement removes uncertainty about the costs of storing interim and final waste and gives investors greater clarity over the future finances of E.ON, RWE, EnBW and Vattenfall [VATN.UL].

The utilities will remain responsible for dismantling the country’s nuclear plants, the last of which will be shut down in 2022 as part of Germany’s abandonment of the technology, a decision triggered by Japan’s Fukushima disaster five years ago.

(Reporting by Markus Wacket; Writing by Caroline Copley; Editing by Joseph Nasr)

Read the original article on Reuters.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

India not happy with Costs of Nuclear Power Project With France

India Dissatisfied With Costs of Nuclear Power Project With France   / sandeepachetan
BUSINESS 19:11 21.10.2016 India sent a strong message to France that it will not go ahead with the project unless the costs of production for the Jaitapur nuclear power project would be affordable.

New Delhi (Sputnik) —  India’s Atomic Energy Commission has made it clear that Western nuclear reactors will be welcomed only if it generates power at affordable rates.

………India signed Memorandum of Understanding with France for setting up six nuclear reactors at Jaitapur in March this year. Both countries decided to conclude the final agreement by end of 2016. Technical aspects of the deal have been resolved but expected costs of production have become a major hindrance for going ahead with the agreement……

October 22, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India | Leave a comment

Plant Vogtle Nuclear Company is now rewarded for bungling and delays

taxpayer bailoutProposed Agreement Would Reward Southern Company for Bungled, Massively Over Budget and 45-Month Delayed Plant Vogtle Reactors

Jennifer Rennicks, SACE, 865.235.1448 Atlanta, Ga.   Late Thursday the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) Staff issued a proposed Stipulation Agreement that fails to protect Georgia Power customers for increased costs associated with the now 45-month delayed, over budget nuclear reactors under construction at Plant Vogtle near Waynesboro along the Savannah River. The estimated capital cost forecast has increased $1.262 billion for Georgia Power’s share of the project to $5.680 billion from the original $4.418 billion. The PSC press statement identified what appear to be only phantom savings to utility ratepayers while granting the Company guarantee of collection of billions of dollars in increased project costs.

Key items in the proposed Stipulation include:

  • A defacto extension of the construction schedule from the current 39-month delay to 45 months with acknowledgement that it could be even further delayed, with nominal penalty for the Company.
  • Capital costs up to $5.680 billion are considered reasonable and prudent thus no review in the future; despite the fact that $3.68 billion has been spent in capital costs as of the 15th Vogtle Construction Monitoring (VCM) report. This appears to represent approval of $2 billion in advance of those capital costs even being spent.
  • The phantom cost savings to customers over the next four years appears to be due to merely slowing down the collection of financing costs versus actually denying the Company collection of these costs.

Below is a statement from Southern Alliance for Clean Energy’s High Risk Energy Choices Program Director Sara Barczak, an intervening party in the Vogtle Supplemental Information Review process, which the clean energy organization has criticized as an expedited, quasi-prudency review:

Halloween came early in Georgia given the clear treats offered to Southern Company (parent Company of Georgia Power) and the tricks doled out to utility customers. The proposed Stipulation is a major disappointment to consumers for many reasons.

Not one penny of construction costs associated with the construction delay was disallowed, including the $700 million in additional financing costs caused by the delay. Georgia Power will collect 100% of its financing costs. Most of the $325 million in phantom cost reduction to customers is only a delay in collecting financing charges. Georgia Power shareholders may see a tiny drop in their earnings but remain largely protected.

While Georgia Power has spent $3.68 billion on the Project to date, the Stipulation certifies $5.680 billion in construction costs as “prudent” and “reasonable” – essentially an advance approval of $2 billion dollars.

Finally, there is no public record to evaluate whether the PSC Staff negotiated a fair deal or rolled over to the utility company demands.

The proposed Stipulation clearly rewards Southern Company for their and their Contractors’ bungling of the troubled Vogtle nuclear construction project, which has been plagued with a plethora of serious design, engineering and construction problems from Day One that were identified by PSC Staff over years of testimony.

Georgia Power customers will realize little benefit should the Georgia Public Service Commissioners approve this proposal. It’s really sad to see yet another big power company receiving essentially a free pass for their mistakes that will cost families and businesses money.

Additional information: Originally Vogtle reactor Unit 3 was scheduled to come online April 1, 2016 and Unit 4 one year later. As of the 15th VCM report, schedule estimates were June 2019 and June 2020 respectively, a 39-month delay, with a cost estimate of $7.862 billion. The current certified cost for Georgia Power’s share of the project is approximately $6.113 billion. Customers are already paying an additional 9.4% on their monthly bills for the Nuclear Construction Cost Recovery (NCCR) costs due to anti-consumer state legislation passed in 2009 to incentivize building new reactors. Over $1.8 billion in pre-collected financing costs have been charged to ratepayers and the financing costs represent the largest share of the project’s cost overruns. The original approximately $14.1 billion Vogtle project is now estimated to cost well over $20 billion. Georgia Power is 45.7% owner in the project (remaining utility partners are Oglethorpe Power (30%), MEAG (22.7%) and the City of Dalton (1.6%)).

Find more information about Plant Vogtle’s expansion here.

October 22, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

South Korea’s State nuclear company expects to win $billions from marketing nuclear operations to United Arab Emirates

Buy-S-Korea-nukesS.Korea signs on to venture to operate UAE’s 1st nuclear power plant

SEOUL Oct 20 (Reuters) – State-run utility Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) agreed to invest $900 million in a company operating the first nuclear power plant in the United Arab Emirates, South Korea’s energy ministry said on Thursday.

KEPCO expects the deal to boost its revenue by nearly $50 billion over the next 60 years, according to a statement from the ministry.

KEPCO and Emirates Nuclear Energy Corp (ENEC) signed the deal to co-invest in the company managing and operating the UAE’s Barakah nuclear power plant for the next six decades, the ministry statement said.

In 2009, a KEPCO-led consortium won a contract to build the four 1,400 megawatt nuclear reactors that are being constructed at the Barakah plant to meet the UAE’s surging demand for electricity.

South Korea, the world’s fifth-biggest user of nuclear power, constructs and operates its reactors through KEPCO. (Reporting By Jane Chung; Editing by Tom Hogue)


October 22, 2016 Posted by | marketing, South Korea, United Arab Emirates | Leave a comment

Costing more than $6 billion and 40 years later – America’s Watts Bar nuclear reactor turned on

Nation’s First Nuclear Reactor in 20 Years Starts Operation, Bloomberg,  By Rebecca Kern Oct. 19 — The Tennessee Valley Authority’s Watts Bar Unit 2 reactor near Spring City, Tenn., officially began commercial operation Oct. 19, making it the first new commercial nuclear reactor to go online in the U.S. in the last 20 years.

The reactor has been more than 40 years in the making and cost approximately $6 billion to complete, not adjusting for inflation.

Watts Bar Unit 2 is one of five reactors in the U.S. expected to open in the next five years. However, cost overruns and delays are leading critics to question whether new nuclear plants will be built in the future.

Construction on Watts Bar Units 1 and 2 began in 1973. Work stopped on Unit 2 in 1985 due to deficiencies at the plant. Unit 1 began operation in 1996. In 2007, the TVA began efforts again to complete Unit 2, submitting an updated license application to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission in 2009 and received its operating license in October 2015. Unit 2 is the first new reactor in the U.S. since its sister plant started operations.

The Unit 2 startup comes at a time when nuclear operators have shut down—or announced plans to shut down—10 reactors in five states due to difficulty competing against low natural gas prices, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute, which represents the nuclear industry. The group predicts that an additional 15 to 20 nuclear reactors are at risk of premature closure in the coming years.

Marvin Fertel’s, NEI’s president and CEO, praised TVA’s completion of the plant……..

Mark Cooper, a senior research fellow for economic analysis at the Vermont Law School, said it is no longer financially viable to build new reactors in the U.S. Watts Bar Unit 2 “is not a monument to the future nuclear power, it’s a mausoleum for the future of nuclear power,” he told Bloomberg BNA Oct. 19.

Watchdogs Say Building Nuclear Too Costly

The TVA estimates that it spent $1.3 billion originally on the project. Work resumed after the board of directors approved $4 billion to $4.5 billion to complete the reactor in 2012, and then later approved an additional $200 million in 2016, bringing total estimated costs to $6 billion.

Critics say that the $6 billion price tag to complete Watts Bar Unit 2 is a reminder of the expense of building nuclear reactors today.

Tim Judson, executive director of the Nuclear Information and Research Service, a information center for environmentalists concerned about nuclear power and radioactive waste, said he would estimate Watts Bar Unit 2 cost between $7 billion and $8 billion when adjusted for inflation.

“As an economic enterprise, they are doomed,” Cooper said of nuclear reactors in the U.S………

To contact the reporter on this story: Rebecca Kern in Washington

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl

October 21, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

The R Street Institute’s “sober assessment” of nuclear power costs

  scrutiny-on-costsNordea Bank taps BNY Mellon as US debt, equity portfolios custodian, SNL, October 12, 2016 

By Andrew Coffman Smith Seven nuclear power plants may have to retire early because of large capital expenses and transmission congestion costs, not low wholesale power prices brought on by cheap and available natural gas, according to a new analysis.

The R Street Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, on Oct. 6 published a “sober assessment” of the risk exposure of 29 merchant nuclear power plants in competitive wholesale markets. The study examined the operations and maintenance, or O&M, costs and day-ahead pricing of those plants and five other nuclear power plants that recently closed or have announced their retirements.

“[W]hile natural gas certainly has affected the industry by putting a ceiling on prices, the facilities that are closing are ones located in areas with considerable transmission constraints, that have required significant and unexpected capital investments to extend their operational life or where closure has been a response to heightened regulatory oversight,” R Street energy policy director Catrina Rorke found.

Rorke did not find any substantial risk that ISO New England Inc.‘s two remaining nuclear plants that have not yet announced plans to shutter may have to do so, nor any “widespread closure risk” for PJM Interconnection LLC‘s 16 remaining nuclear plants.

However, she did find that four out of the five nuclear plants in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator Inc.‘s market already have O&M costs above day-ahead price signals and are at risk of closing. Those plants are NextEra Energy Inc.‘s majority-owned Duane Arnold Energy Center in Iowa and its wholly-owned Point Beach unit in Wisconsin, as well as DTE Energy Co.‘s Fermi plant and Entergy’s Palisades plant, both of which are in Michigan.

In Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc.‘s market, Luminant Generation Co. LLC‘s Comanche Peak plant and the South Texas Project, which is partially owned by NRG Energy Inc.CPS Energy and others, are also at risk of closure because of a narrow margin between O&M costs and the hub price. However, the report said ERCOT’s use of scarcity pricing during supply shortages could provide enough payments to keep them operational.

In addition, the analysis singled out Exelon Corp. and EDF Group‘s jointly-owned R.E. Ginna in the New York ISO as operating at a loss for every megawatt-hour generated. Ginna is one of three nuclear plants that are expected to be subsidized under Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s clean energy standard.

The study’s findings questioned if industry wide interventions, such as creating subsidies or including the price of carbon within electricity markets, are needed to prevent further early retirements as many within in the nuclear energy industry desire. New York earlier this year approved a subsidy for three at-risk nuclear power plants that could amount to almost $7.6 billion over 12 years. Supporters claim that the alternative of allowing those plants to retire early would still be more costly for both ratepayers and the environment.

As for the recent closures or announced retirements, Rorke found that those nuclear power plants also had “substantial additional financial challenges beyond natural-gas prices.”

“Transmission congestion and large capital expenditures have been the two factors that tip the scales in favor of retirements,” the study concluded……..

October 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Nuclear power plant maintenance stoppages cause France’s electricity prices to rise

French winter forward power prices rally on fresh nuclear concerns  Reuters By Vera Eckert and Bate Felix FRANKFURT/PARIS, Oct 18 French forward power prices hit fresh highs on Tuesday on persistent worries over further nuclear power reactor downtime in coming months at five plants, which could tighten European electricity supplies in winter.

Nuclear watchdog ASN has told state utility EDF to conduct tests on the five nuclear reactors before their scheduled maintenance period, potentially adding further pressure to the country’s already tight supply situation.

ASN said in a statement that the five reactors to be tested were: the 1,500 MW Civaux 1 (no maintenance date set); 900 MW Fessenheim 1, scheduled to go offline on Oct. 22; 900 MW Gravelines 4, scheduled for planned outage in April 2017; 900 MW Tricastin 4, scheduled for statutory outage on Oct. 22, and the 900 MW Tricastin 2 scheduled for outage in April 2017……..

French grid operator RTE said on Tuesday that French nuclear power production in September fell to its lowest in 18 years due to the issues with French reactors. Output has been on a steady decline since May………

Traders questioned France’s seemingly patchy outage reporting standards compared with their northwest European peers, who update the market of any slight changes in production outlook, especially since French power markets are exerting such a big pull over the broader European energy complex.

“Why is the market mover of all European commodities not saying a word about its own nuclear problems?,” a trader said.

French energy market regulator CRE said separately that it was paying attention to the reasons for the sharp rise in French forward power prices, and was paying particular attention to transparency obligations under European Union REMIT regulations. ($1 = 0.9098 euros) (Additional reporting by Oleg Vukmanovic and Geert De Clercq; Editing by Mark Potter and Adrian Croft)

October 19, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, France | Leave a comment

Modi and Putin revive Cold War bond with lucrative agreements between two nations

Russian-Bearflag-indiaIndia-Russia ties boosted by defence, energy deals, Straits Times, OCT 16, 2016, Modi and Putin revive Cold War bond with lucrative agreements between two nations  BENAULIM (India) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a raft of lucrative defence and energy pacts yesterday following talks aimed at reinvigorating ties between the former Cold War allies.

Mr Modi hailed Mr Putin as an “old friend” after their meeting in the Indian state of Goa, where leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) were gathering for a summit.

“Your leadership has provided stability and substance to our strategic partnership,” Mr Modi said alongside Mr Putin at a beachside resort, after officials signed up to 20 agreements between the two nations……..

They also signed an initial agreement on India’s purchase of Russia’s state-of-the-art S400 missile defence system, capable of shooting down multiple incoming missiles, although there were no details on a timeframe for delivery. The system would strengthen India’s defences along its borders with China and Pakistan……..

The leaders also signed a framework agreement to supply more reactors to a nuclear plant in Kudankulam in southern India, which is attempting to reduce its reliance on highly polluting coal for power. Mr Putin said that Russia would be able to build a dozen nuclear reactors in India over the next 20 years to back Mr Modi’s growth strategy for Asia’s third-largest economy, which continues to suffer power shortages………

Mr Modi was expected to hold talks with China’s President Xi Jinping late yesterday, also in the hope of boosting investment and trade. Relations, however, have been frustrated by Beijing’s decision so far to block New Delhi’s entry to a nuclear trade group, among other issues.

October 18, 2016 Posted by | India, marketing, Russia | Leave a comment

For auction – Abandoned nuclear reactor complex in Alabama

TVA sets auction date for Bellefonte nuclear power plant, Abandoned twin-reactor complex in Alabama to go on block Nov. 14, Times Free Press, 

October 14th, 2016by Dave Flessner Nearly a half century after the Tennessee Valley Authority assembled a riverfront parcel in Northeast Alabama to build what was supposed to be one of its biggest nuclear power plants, the federal utility is giving up the project and selling the 1,400-acre site next month for a mere fraction of the more than $5 billion it has spent on the facility.

TVA said Friday it has set an auction date of Nov. 14 at 9 a.m. central time to sell its unfinished Bellefonte nuclear power plant. Concentric Energy Advisors Inc., a property consulting firm TVA hired this spring to market the 1,400-acre power plant site on the Tennessee River in Hollywood, Ala., will conduct the sale at the plant site.

TVA directors declared the unfinished nuclear plant to be surplus property earlier this year — 43 years after construction began on the twin-reactor complex. TVA said in a statement Friday the “primary goal in selling the site is to provide the best long-term economic return to the surrounding communities.” The minimum bid price is $36.4 million, which is the appraised value of the riverfront property, but the bids will be evaluated on both the price offered and the economic gains any sale would generate for the region.

TVA has invested more than $5 billion in capital and interest costs at Bellefonte since work began on two Babcock and Wilcox reactors in 1973. Work was suspended in the 1980s when TVA’s growth in power demand slowed and TVA determined it didn’t need either of the 1,200-megawatt units…….

October 18, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, USA | Leave a comment

Germany’s leading utilities to start contributing to nuclear waste storage fund

German power firms to shift funds in landmark nuclear deal , Reuters 14 Oct 16 

* Bill of 23.6 billion euros for waste storage – draft law

* Utilities can pay in instalments to 2026

* First payment must be 20 pct of total sum

* Shares in E.ON, RWE, EnBW rise on clarity (Recasts, adds funding breakup, details)

By Markus Wacket BERLIN, Germany’s leading utilities will start contributing next year to a 23.6 billion euro ($26.4 billion) fund as a condition for shifting liability for nuclear waste storage to the government, giving investors greater clarity over their future finances.

The new legislation, seen by Reuters on Friday, will remove uncertainty about the costs of storing waste — the most complex and costly aspect of nuclear decommissioning — which has been a major drag on German utility stocks.

The utilities will remain responsible for dismantling the country’s nuclear plants, the last of which will be shut down in 2022 as part of Germany’s abandonment of the technology, a decision triggered by Japan’s Fukushima disaster five years ago.

The German cabinet is set to approve the law on Oct. 19, bringing to an end lengthy negotiations between Berlin and the country’s four major energy groups — E.ON, RWE , EnBW and Vattenfall — on a waste storage deal proposed in April.

With a combined liability of about 16.7 billion euros, E.ON and RWE will have to stump up most of the funds. E.ON has said it might carry out a share sale to raise about 2 billion euros to help achieve this……..

The utilities had been pushing to get favourable terms from the government, arguing they have been hammered by plunging power prices, a shift towards renewable energy and Germany’s nuclear exit, which has taken its toll on their finances…….

October 15, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Germany, politics | Leave a comment

Cuomo’s nuclear plant bailout lets Exelon and Entergy rip off US taxpayers

taxpayer bailoutCuomo wrong on nuclear plant bailout: View,  Michael Shank October 12, 2016
New York state sets a trap with its plan to boost upstate nuclear plants by tacking on a fee to utility customers’ bills  
Bailouts are common in government — at the federal and state level and regardless of political party — and that’s what is happening now in New York for the nuclear industry.

New York’s nuclear bailout is merely the latest example of business getting off scot-free while taxpayers pick up multi-billion-dollar tabs. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is planning to bail out the aging and money-losing Ginna, FitzPatrick and Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, some of America’s oldest nuclear plants owned by Exelon and Entergy, with nearly $8 billion of New Yorkers’ hard-earned money (and another $2.8 billion if energy prices fall).

That decision was made after Exelon alone spent $430,000 in lobbying Albany over the past two years. In the same amount of time, Entergy spent $1.7 million lobbying New York state. Money talks…….

The New York nuclear bailout falls into the same trap that riddled financial industry and auto industry bailout schemes. There’s little corrective action that’s encouraged, or regulated, and so the industry is allowed to continue making the same mistakes — all at a significant cost to our economy. Nothing could be more inefficient. The most common nuclear industry bailout props up companies operating old plants — in desperate need of repair, emitting radioactive waste, leaking toxic material often and keeping cooling systems that kill massive amounts of marine life — with no conditions. And it’s done using taxpayer dollars to prop up companies — such as Fortune 100 Company Exelon with $34 billion in annual revenues — that aren’t in need of extra revenue……

Neither New York’s nuclear industry nor the utilities industry should be passing on these costs to taxpayers, nor should state governments be picking up the corporate tab. These are costs that companies should cover, not citizens.

October 14, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Something not quite right about South Africa’s plan for Eskom to finance nuclear build?

flag-S.Africabribery handshakeEskom will finance South Africa’s R1 trillion nuclear plans: minister, Business Tech By October 11, 2016 Energy minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson has told Parliament that South Africa’s ambitious and controversial nuclear energy plans will be entirely funded by Eskom, with no money coming from National Treasury.

The minister was briefing Parliament’s energy oversight committee on Tuesday.

The process around South Africa’s nuclear plans, which will see 9,600MW of nuclear power added to the grid, has been a mysterious one, where the DoE has not revealed any of the details surrounding the project – including its cost.

Conservative estimates have put the build at R500 billion, while experts have noted – taking into consideration the country’s much-delayed Medupi and Kusile power station builds – that costs may balloon to well over R1 trillion.

joemat-pettersson-tinaAccording to Joemat-Pettersson, Eskom will fund the entire build off its own balance sheet, and the funding process will be handled in the same way as the Medupi and Kusile projects.

No funds will come from Treasury or the fiscus, she said, with Eskom turning to global markets to raise money it needs.

Eskom’s handling of Medupi and Kusile have drawn much criticism as both projects have seen massive delays, labour issues and come in billions of rands over budget………

DA shadow minister of energy, Gordon Mackay, said that Pettersson’s announcement “is nothing short of an elaborate sleight of hand aimed at muddying the water and subverting effective parliamentary oversight over the R1 trillion nuclear deal”.

Mackay said that in designating Eskom as the procuring agent for the nuclear new build the following must be considered:

  • The tender will be subject to Eskom’s board tender committee, the very same tender committee found to be corrupt by the Supreme Court of Appeal.
  • The tender will be subject to internal Eskom processes, effectively shielding the nuclear deal from direct parliamentary oversight.
  • A nuclear deal not directly subject to parliamentary oversight will cost more and be subject to greater levels of corruption, in the same way as Kusile and Medupi have been with regard to their association with Hitachi.
  • While tax payers will not be directly liable for the build costs of the new build programme – like the costs of Kusile and Medupi – they will be passed onto consumers via higher electricity prices. Higher energy costs will kill economic growth and jobs.

“Far from providing much needed clarity and assurance, the Minister has created greater uncertainty and has all but ensured that Zuma and his cronies will enrich themselves at South Africa’s expense,” the DA’s energy lead said.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, politics, secrets,lies and civil liberties, South Africa | Leave a comment

China going allout to market nuclear reactors to Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East

Buy-China-nukes-1China’s nuclear plant makers seek new markets along the ancient Silk Road into Asia, Europe, Africa and Middle East SCMP, 04 April, 2016

‘One belt, one road’ policy for financing and support for infrastructure projects is helping nuclear plant constructors expand into overseas markets………The policy was first proposed in 2013 to promote infrastructure construction deals overseas along with goods and services trade along the ancient Silk Road from China to Europe and along the ancient maritime trade route linking China to southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The state is offering financing at a time when China’s economy grew at the slowest rate in 25 years and its industry faces severe overcapacity problems.

Beijing has encouraged local firms to become involved in infrastructure projects in southeast Asia, Europe and Africa. Chinese nuclear reactor builders are a growing force in the global nuclear industry.

“The export of nuclear reactors will become one of the key pillars for executing China’s one belt, one road strategy,” Zheshang Securities analyst Zheng Dandan said………

Three Chinese state-backed firms are actively pursuing opportunities to export their reactor construction expertise, especially in developing nations that do not have their own construction capabilities.

Beijing-based projects developer China National Nuclear Corp (CNNC) chairman Sun Qin was quoted by state media China News Service last month as saying that 80 per cent of the up to 300 new reactors projected to be built by 2030 globally could be in ‘one belt, one road’ nations.

CNNC wants to build 30 reactors in such nations, and will use Argentina as a base to develop the South American market, Algeria for reaching out to the greater African market and Pakistan where it is building a project to develop the Asian market, Sun was reported as saying.

State Power Investment, formed via the merger of one of the nation’s “big five” power generators China Power Investment and general contractor State Nuclear Power Technology last year, is also pursuing overseas projects.

It has partnered with the US nuclear technology powerhouse Westinghouse to negotiate a potential deal to build a nuclear power project in Turkey. It has also pursued opportunities in South Africa.

Shenzhen-based projects developer China General Nuclear Power is working towards winning potential projects in Britain, Kenya and southeast Asia. It won one bid to build a plant in Romania.

The mainland leadership has made the globalisation of Chinese firms a key part of its economic reform plans, looking to establish the nation as a major provider of value-added and high-end goods and services. In a series of articles this week, the South China Morning Post examines the key industries targeting overseas expansion, beginning with the nuclear power industry.

October 12, 2016 Posted by | China, marketing | Leave a comment

India’s government seeking private investment for its costly Light Water Nuclear Reactors

Nuclear energy: Government to push for JVs in light water reactor projects, Economic Times By PTI |  Oct 09, 2016, NEW DELHI: To meet the high cost of Light Water Reactors, the government has decided to bring in such projects, which currently involve foreign collaborators, as joint ventures (JVs)with public sector undertakings (PSUs).

October 10, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, India, politics | Leave a comment

Desperate times for the uranium industry, and no hope in sight

burial.uranium-industryDesperate uranium miners switch to survival mode despite nuclear rebound, Reuters, By Geert De Clercq 7 OCT 16  LONDON   “……..BULGING INVENTORIES  Mining executives partly blame the slump on their customers’ wait-and-see attitude, as utilities believe that the uranium market’s over-capacity will persist for years and see no need to rebuild their dwindling stockpiles.

Demand for uranium is determined by the number of nuclear plants in operation worldwide, but supply and demand are disjointed by huge stocks and uranium’s long production cycle……..

In the five years before Fukushima, utilities worldwide bought about 200 million pounds of uranium per year, he said. Although Japan’s consumption averaged only around 25 million pounds per year, when it closed its reactors demand was cut far further, falling by half. European and U.S. utilities saw that the market was over-supplied and reduced inventories, buying less.

Mining firm Energy Fuels estimates global uranium stocks held by utilities, miners and governments are now at around 1 billion pounds. That is down from a peak around 2.5 billion pounds in 1990, but still many years’ worth of consumption.

Despite the plunge in uranium prices after the 2008 financial crisis and again after Fukushima, uranium production has doubled from 80-90 million pounds in the mid-1990s to about 160 million pounds last year, according to Energy Fuels data……


With so much new supply, and demand sliding, prices have fallen to a level where most uranium miners operate at a loss.

“At today’s spot prices, the primary uranium mining industry is not sustainable,” US uranium producer Energy Fuels COO Mark Chalmers told the World Nuclear Association’s London conference last month.

He added that many legacy long-term supply contracts will expire in 2017-18, which will force many mines to close or throttle back even further than they already have.

Miners like Canada’s Cameco, France’s Areva and the uranium arms of global mining companies have closed or mothballed several mines and deferred new projects in order to cut back supply.

Paladin – the world’s second-largest independent pure-play uranium miner after Cameco and the seventh or eighth-largest globally – has production capacity of 8 million pounds of yellowcake uranium but produced just 4.9 million pounds last year at its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia.

Molyneux said the firm will produce about 4 million pounds this year and will cut output further to about 3.5 million pounds next year if prices do not recover.

Paladin suspended production at its 2.3 million pounds per year capacity Kayelekera mine in northern Malawi in 2014 but maintains equipment so it can resume when prices recover.

Meanwhile it is trying to further reduce its debt, which already fell from $1.2 billion five years ago to $362 million.

Paladin has agreed to sell 24 pct of Langer Heinrich to the China National Nuclear Company and plans to use the expected proceeds of 175 million dollars to further reduce debt.

Bigger peer Cameco in April suspended production at its Rabbit Lake, Canada mine while also curtailing output across its U.S. operations, saying market conditions could not support the operating and capital costs needed to sustain production.

Cameco marketing head Tim Gabruch told the WNA conference that “desperate times call for desperate measures”.

Supply adjustments and producer discipline had not yet been sufficient to counter the loss of demand, he said.”As difficult as those decisions have been, we recognize that those actions may not be enough.”(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; editing by Peter Graff)

October 8, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment