nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry Fukushima Chernobyl Mayak Three Mile Island Atomic Testing Radiation Isotope

Donald Trump reopens the radioactive nightmare

Ken Raskin , 22 July 18 Trump has whole heartedly opened up the radioactive nightmare in America again.  Uranium Mining in the Grand canyon. Into water that supplies much of the western United States.

This excerpt is from Majias Blog

“””In 2017 UR Energy’s Lost Creek mine in Wyoming had a terrible accident, described in the headline below as one of the worst recorded uranium mine spills, although trivialized in impact as not posing a threat:
Heather Richards (2017, September 8). Wyoming uranium mine spill one of the largest recorded in U.S.; officials say it does not pose a threat. Star Tribune:https://trib.com/business/energy/wyoming-uranium-mine-spill-one-of-the-largest-recorded-in/article_563faf2a-4093-5749-aaea-38f1f6b8efb0.html

The Lost Creek uranium mine north of Rawlins shut down operations Wednesday just weeks after reporting one of the largest spills of uranium injection fluid ever recorded in the U.S.

The spill was contained on site and is not a human health hazard, according to federal regulators. The spilled fluid had not yet been pumped into the uranium ore beneath the surface. Radioactive metal contained in the fluid was naturally occurring.

The mine, owned by Littleton, Colorado-based Ur-Energy, reported an Aug. 19 spill of 188,000 gallons of pre-injection fluid at Lost Creek. Another spill of 10,000 gallons of pre-injection fluid at Lost Creek on Tuesday was reported to federal regulators.
See how the article trivializes impact by stating that the radioactive metal contained in the spilled fluid was “naturally occurring.”

Uranium mining rapes the earth and processing and utilization poison the population as well as the eco-systems upon which we depend.

We don’t need nuclear power – its inefficient, costly, dangerous, and no solution exists for waste – and we don’t need nuclear weapons.

We don’t need any more uranium. Its antithetical to security when thought in relation to the preservation of life.””””

Start from Ship Rock NM, where a 90 million gallons of highly radioactive sludge, was released illegally into the  environment and,  san Juan River. The san Juan River Drains into the Colorado River.

Shiprock is also close to where underground nukes were detonated in New Mexico for project gasbuggy
Shiprock is on the navajo nation.

From there, moving West on the Navajo Nation.

Moving west to the grand canyon and the Uranium Mines there! Also downwind from Nevada nuke testing in the 50s and 60s.

GO NORTH TO Halchita IN DEEP SOUTH UTAH, BY the sacred Monument Valley.

Halchita, is where there was a uranium Mill and where there were mines, on the navajo Nation. Halchita is also downwind, from where the American Military nuke bombed its own citizens with a thousand bombs.

HALCHITA IS NAVAJO land, where half the residents in the area died from cancer.

Move norteast to Blanding, Utah, where energy Fuels is now located. By Bears ears, where Trump just opened unlimited uranium mining, even open pit uranium mining.

BLANDING IS Also downwinder. So many young people dead in mine accidents, prematurely from lung cancer, pacreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, lymphomas, leukemias. MANY PEOPLE THERE HATE URANIUM AND NUCLEAR.

A leader of the sagebrush rebellion, Cal Black, WAS a county commissioner of that county, San Juan County in the 60s and 70s.

Cal Black died with painful tumors, all over his body, at a young age. He regretted his involvement with Uranium, in the end.

The principal of Monticello High School,  had a young son, who died of the same leukemia, that cursed so many kids in southern utah. All of those kids were downwinders and uranium babies. Monticello is just 20 miles north of the Energy Fuels genocide factory.

There was a Uranium Mill, right in the middle of monticello. It has not cleaned up all the way, to this day.

The mill and tailings of energy fuels in blanding blows radioactive shit all over s utah to colorado and arizona.

Blanding and energy fuels, are 20 miles s of Monticello Utah.

The heavily contaminated dust from that abomination, blows radioactive shit, to the Ute reservation in colorado 50 miles away, to Bluff Utah by Monument valley and has heavily contaminated the Bears Ears.

There were the numerous nuclear bombs, detonated at the headwaters of and under the Colorado River in the 60s and 70s. There are the towns north of energy fuels along the Colorado river in Utah and colarado, that had to sue the government and corporate polluters for 20 years, to get something done about the radioactive shit in their towns.

And now Trump is back to start it up all over again and make it worse.

Advertisements

July 22, 2018 Posted by | incidents, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Uranium Tariffs Threaten Nuclear Plants Trump Is Trying to Save

Uranium Tariffs Threaten Nuclear Plants Trump Is Trying to Save, Bloomberg, By 

  •  
    U.S. to probe whether imports are threat to national security
  •  
    Tariffs on imports ‘would drive up the price of uranium’
The Trump administration’s decision to consider tariffs on uranium imports may raise the cost of fuel for nuclear reactors and undermine a separate initiative to shore up struggling electricity generators.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday it will probe whether uranium imports “threaten to impair” national security. U.S. miners Energy Fuels Inc. and Ur-Energy Inc., which requested the probe in January, want 25 percent of the domestic market reserved for U.S. producers. Domestic companies supply less than 5 percent of U.S. consumption and would need about three years to ramp up production to meet that target.

The prospect of trade barriers comes after President Donald Trump last month ordered his energy secretary to take action to extend the life of money-losing coal and nuclear power plants that face competition from cheap natural gas and renewable energy. Those efforts may be hindered as the prospect of tariffs threatens to deal another blow to financially strapped reactor operators……..https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-19/uranium-tariffs-threaten-nuclear-plants-trump-is-trying-to-save

July 20, 2018 Posted by | politics, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Beyond Nuclear reports on little known Nigerian town and AREVA’s uranium mining

A forgotten community  The little town in Niger keeping the lights on in France, Beyond Nuclear By Lucas Destrijcker & Mahadi Diouara, 1 July 18 
Reprinted with kind permission from African Arguments

Welcome to Arlit, the impoverished uranium capital of Africa.

From Niamey, the capital of the landlocked West African nation of Niger, we call ahead to a desert town in the remote north of the country.

“Journalists? On their way here? It’s been a while”, we hear down the phone from our contact. “We welcome you with open arms, but only on the pretence that you’re visiting to interview migrants on their way to Algeria. If they find out you’re poking your nose in their business, it’s a lost cause.”

That same evening, the public bus jolts as it sets off. Destination: the gates of the Sahara.

The stuffy subtropical heat gradually fades into scorching drought and plains of seemingly endless ochre sands. About two days later, we pass through a gateway with “Arlit” written on it in rusty letters.

The town of about 120,000 inhabitants is located in one of the Sahel’s most remote regions, not far from the Algerian border. The surrounding area is known to be the operating territory of numerous bandits and armed groups, including Islamist militants. It is like an island in the middle of the desert, an artificial oasis with only one raison d’être: uranium………

approximately 150,000 tonnes of uranium have been extracted by the majority state-owned French company Areva, which is now one of the largest uranium producers in the world. The two mines around Arlit – Somaïr and Cominak – account for around a third of the multi-billion-dollar company’s total global production.

France uses this uranium to generate nuclear power, some of which is sold on to other European countries. According to Oxfam, over one-third of all lamps in France light up thanks to uranium from Niger.

However, in contrast to France, Niger has failed to see similar benefits. The West African country has become the world’s fourth largest producer of uranium, which contributes tens of millions to the nation’s budget each year. Yet it has remained one of the world’s poorest and least developed countries, with almost half its 20 million population living below the poverty line. Its annual budget has typically been a fraction of Areva’s yearly revenue.

The main reason for this is the deal struck between Areva and Niger. The details have not been made public, but some journalists and activists such as Ali Idrissa, who campaigns for more transparency in the industry, have seen the agreement. Amongst other things, the documents suggest that the original deal generously exempted Areva from customs, export, fuel, materials and revenue taxes………

Apart from criticising the Nigerien government for not spending its uranium revenue where it is most needed – such as in health care, education and agriculture – Idrissa ( Ali Idrissa, who campaigns for more transparency in the industry ) emphasises the bigger geopolitical picture: “Don’t forget that Niger isn’t just negotiating with a regular company, but with the French state. Their development aid, military and political support means that we cannot ignore our former coloniser. Our dependency from France goes hand in hand with crooked business deals.”

Forgotten in the desert

Exhausted from the long journey to Arlit, we’re received in the dingy office of Mouvement Unique des Organisations de la Société Civile d’Arlit (MUOSCA), a local umbrella group for environmental and humanitarian NGOs.

“If either Areva or the government were to find out you’re poking your nose in their business, they’ll go to any length to make your work very difficult”, says MUOSCA’s director Dan Ballan Mahaman Sani as he wipes the sweat from his brow. “Besides that, Westerners are attractive targets in this region.”

Indeed, there is a history of Islamist militant attacks and kidnappings in the area, including some directly targeting Areva. In 2010, seven of the company’s employees were abducted, including five French nationals. In 2013, an attack on the Somaïr mine left one dead and 16 injured.

While the world held its breath as armed groups stepped up operations in the region, Areva, managed to extract over 4,000 tons of uranium, up from two years before, without too much trouble.

Dan Ballan says this illustrates how far the Nigerien uranium industry stands apart from the country’s social environment and how isolated Arlit has become especially amidst regional insecurity.

“International NGOs or UN agencies don’t exist here, and Areva has nothing to fear from the Nigerien government,” he says. “We’re literally a forgotten community, completely left to the mercy of the multinational.”

Finding water

According to Dan Ballan and others, the uranium mining industry has taken a huge toll on Arlit and the region. While Areva has a multi-billion-dollar turnover, the majority of people here live in a patchwork of corrugated iron shelters on sandstone foundations. Poverty is rife. Power outages lasting two or more days are regarded as normal.

Moreover, while the uranium mines consume millions of litres each day, only a small proportion of Arlit’s Nigerien population enjoy running water. A 2010 Greenpeace study estimated that 270 billion litres of water had been used by the mines over decades of operations, draining a fossil aquifer more than 150 metres deep. The depletion of these ancient water reserves has contributed to desertification and the drying up of vegetation.

The water in Arlit, however, is not only scarce. Researchers over the years also suggest that, along with the soil and air, it contains alarming levels of radiotoxins.

Bruno Chareyon, director of the French Commission for Independent Research and Information on Radiation (CRIIAD), has been measuring radioactivity in and around Arlit for over a decade. His studies from 2003 and 2004 suggested that the drinking water contains levels of uranium at ten to hundred times the World Health Organisation’s recommended safety standards.

“Despite these findings, Areva has stated continuously that they haven’t measured any excess radioactivity during their biannual examinations,” he says.

In 2009, Greenpeace conducted their own tests and found that five of six examined wells – all used to get drinking water – contained excess radioactivity as well as traces of toxins such as sulphates and nitrates.

……… Toxic waste

At the bustling local market in Arlit, down some meandering alleyways, there are the normal wares, but among them one finds some more peculiar items: large industrial cogs; parts of metal cranes; digging equipment; and even a dump truck.

“All of these are cast-downs from the mines,” says Dan Ballan. “Useless material finds its way to local merchants, who recuperate it and sell it on. Most of them have no idea of the risks.”

CRIIRAD readings of goods at the market from 2003 and 2004 showed radioactivity levels at up to 25 times the maximum standards. “People buy radioactive material to cook with, build their homes with, or raise their children with,” says Dan Ballan…….

Greenpeace and CRIIRAD confirm that radioactive dust spreads far and wide, sometimes to hundreds of kilometres away. But contrary to claims of a “superfast decay”, they say that while some products have half-lives of just days, others have half-lives of tens of years.

Furthermore, researchers say that radioactive waste is not simply dispersed. “The same radioactive rubble was used in Arlit on more than one occasion for landfills or building roads and homes”, alleges Chareyron. In 2007, CRIIRAD found that some road surfaces had radioactive values over a hundred times standard values.

………. Living with uranium

It is not difficult to come across Arlit residents suffering from serious health problems. ………..

The only hospitals in Arlit are run by Areva, with all the medical staff on the company payroll. The government provides no healthcare here. At the Cominak facility, Dr Alassane Seydou claims to have never diagnosed someone with a disease that could be linked to radiation or toxins. He says that in more than 40 years, not a single case of cancer has been discovered. “All employees are systematically examined, but we haven’t encountered any strange diseases,” he claims.

In 2005, the French law association Sherpa launched an investigation into Areva’s activities in Arlit. Speaking to them, one former employee at Somaïr hospital alleged that patients with cancer had been knowingly miscategorised as having HIV or malaria. The surgeon-in-chief at the hospital denied those claims.

There have been no official, large-scale health studies conducted in Arlit, but some smaller-scale studies give an indication of the prevalence of illness among residents and former Areva employees.

In 2013, the Nigerien organisation Réseau Nationale Dette et Développement interviewed 688 former Areva workers. Almost one quarter of them had suffered severe medical issues, ranging from cancer and respiratory problems to pains in their joints and bones. At least 125 had stopped work because of these health issues.

A similar survey was carried out on French former employees around the same time. In 2012, Areva was found culpable in the death of Serge Venel, an engineer in Arlit from 1978-1985. A few months before his passing, doctors had found that his cancer was caused by the “breathing of uranium particles”. The case went to court, with the judge ordering Areva to pay compensation for its “inexcusable fault”. Before the court of appeals, only the Cominak mine was found responsible.

Following the verdict, Venel’s daughter, Peggy Catrin-Venel, founded an organisation to protect the rights of former Areva employees. As part of this project, she managed to trace around 130 of about 350 French workers who had lived in Arlit at the same time as her father. 60% of those she was able to find information on had already died, most of them from the same cancer as her father.

Standing up

Catrin-Venel continues to fight against Areva, but she is not alone. As shown in the documentary Uranium, L’héritage EmpoisonnéJacqueline Gaudet is also standing up to the company.

She founded the organisation Mounana after she lost her father, mother and husband all to cancer in the space of just a few years. Her husband and father had worked at an Areva uranium mine in Gabon, while her mother lived there in a house built from mining rubble. Their cancers were reportedly caused by excessive exposure to radon, which is released during uranium extraction. In collaboration with lawyers from Sherpa and Doctors of the World, Gaudet’s organisation works to collect testimonies from former employees in order to build cases.

For Michel Brugière, former director of Doctors of the World, it’s still unthinkable that so many employees of the French state-owned company could fall ill like this. Speaking in the documentary, he commented: “How can one allow one’s staff to live and work in such a polluted environment? This is unbelievable. It’s reminiscent of long gone abuses.”

In the same vein, Greenpeace describes Arlit as a forgotten battlefield of the nuclear industry. “There are few places where the catastrophic effects of uranium mining on nearby communities and the environment are felt more distinctly than in Niger”, said researcher Andrea Dixon.

Back in Arlit, the stories of French former employees standing up to Areva are well-known. But the struggle for Nigerien workers to get recognised is even steeper than in Europe. “Both the legal system and the financial means to stand up for our rights are lacking”, says Dan Ballan. “In a couple of years, the uranium reserves will be depleted and Areva will leave, however the pollution and underdevelopment will stay behind.”

He may be right, but Areva will not be going far. About 80km away, a third and enormous new Nigerien uranium mine called Imouraren is being developed. “Lacking any perspective of another job, the workers will eventually move 

wherever the mine is”, says the local activist……..

……Arlit, the little town that pays the ultimate price to keep the lights on in France. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/72759838/posts/1909889644

This story was realised with the support of Free Press Unlimited and the Lira Starting Grant for Young Journalists of the Fonds voor Bijzondere Journalistieke Projecten.

The article originally appeared July 18, 2017 on African Arguments

July 2, 2018 Posted by | environment, health, Niger, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company Paladin Energy has left such a mess in Namibia and Malawi

Who cleans up the mess when an Australian uranium mining company leaves Africa?Jim Green, 18 June 2018, The Ecologist   www.theecologist.org/2018/jun/18/who-cleans-mess-when-australian-uranium-mining-company-leaves-africa

Australian mining companies have a poor track record operating in Africa. Australian uranium company Paladin Energy has now put two of its mines into ‘care-and-maintenance’ and bankruptcy looms. But who cleans up the company’s mess in Namibia and Malawi, asks JIM GREEN

Many Australian mining projects in Africa are outposts of good governance – this is what Julie Bishop, the country’s Foreign Minister, told the Africa Down Under mining conference in Western Australia in September 2017. The Australian government “encourages the people of Africa to see us as an open-cut mine for lessons-learned, for skills, for innovation and, I would like to think, inspiration,” the minister said.

But such claims sit uneasily with the highly critical findings arising from a detailed investigation by the International Consortium of Independent Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ noted in a 2015 report that since 2004, more than 380 people have died in mining accidents or in off-site skirmishes connected to Australian mining companies in Africa.

The ICIJ report further stated: “Multiple Australian mining companies are accused of negligence, unfair dismissal, violence and environmental law-breaking across Africa, according to legal filings and community petitions gathered from South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Zambia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Ghana.”

Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera uranium mine in Malawi provides a case study of the problems with Australian mining companies in Africa. Western Australia-based Paladin exploited Malawi’s poverty to secure numerous reductions and exemptions from payments normally required by foreign investors.

United Nations’ Special Rapporteur Olivier De Schutter noted in a 2013 report that “revenue losses from special incentives given to Australian mining company Paladin Energy, which manages the Kayelekera uranium mine, are estimated to amount to at least US$205 million (MWK 67 billion) and could be up to US$281 million (MWK 92 billion) over the 13-year lifespan of the mine.”

Paladin’s environmental and social record has also been the source of ongoing controversy and the subject of numerous critical reports

Standards at Kayelekera fall a long way short of Australian standards ‒ and efforts to force Australian mining companies to meet Australian standards when operating abroad have been strongly resisted. The Kayelekera project would not be approved in Australia due to major flaws in the assessment and design proposals, independent consultants concluded.

Care-and-maintenance

Kayelekera was put into care-and-maintenance in May 2014, another victim of the uranium industry’s post-Fukushima meltdown. And just last month, Paladin announced that its only other operating mine ‒ the Langer Heinrich mine (LHM) in Namibia ‒ will be put into care-and-maintenance.

Perhaps the most striking aspect of the decision to mothball LHM is that Paladin claims it is the lowest cost open-pit uranium mine in the world. Moreover, the company wasn’t even paying to mine ore ‒ mining ceased in November 2016 and since then ore stockpiles have been processed. Thus a low-cost mine can’t even turn a profit processing mined stockpiles.

The cost of production was US$23.11 / lb uranium oxide in December 2017, and the average realised sale price in the second half of 2017 was $21.82.

Anticipating the decision to mothball LHM, Paladin Energy CEO Alex Molyneux said in late-April: “The uranium market has failed to recover since the Fukushima incident in 2011, with the average spot price so far in 2018 the lowest in 15 years. It’s deeply distressing to have to consider suspending operations at LHM because of the consequences for our employees, and the broader community. However, as there has yet to be a sustainable recovery in the uranium market, and with the aim of preserving maximum long-term value for all stakeholders, it is clearly prudent to consider these difficult actions.”

Paladin hopes to resume mining at LHM and Kayelekera following “normalization” of the uranium market, which it anticipates in the next few years. But with no operating mines, Paladin may not survive for long enough to witness a market upswing.

Paladin was placed into the hands of administrators in July 2017 as it was unable to pay French utility EDF a US$277 million debt.

In January 2018, Paladin’s administrator KPMG noted that an Independent Expert’s Report found that the company’s net debt materially exceeds the value of its assets, its shares have nil value, and if Paladin was placed into liquidation there would be no return to shareholders.

The company was restructured, with Deutsche Bank now the largest shareholder, and relisted on the Australian Securities Exchange in February 2018.

Perhaps LHM will be sold for a song, either before or after Paladin goes bankrupt. A subsidiary of China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) has held a 25 percent stake in LHM since January 2014. Last year, the CNNC subsidiary considered exercising its contractual right to buy Paladin’s 75 percent stake in LHM, but chose not to exercise that right following an independent valuation of US$162 million for Paladin’s stake.

Mine-site rehabilitation 

Paladin hopes to resume mining following “normalization” of the uranium market ‒ but low prices could be the new normal. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd said in May 2014 that the industry is set for “a long period of relatively low prices”. Prices were far higher in 2014 than over the past twelve months. Paladin’s CEO Alexander Molyneux said that “it has never been a worse time for uranium miners” in 2016 and the situation has worsened since then for the industry ‒ prices have fallen further still.

Sooner or later ‒ probably sooner ‒ both the LHM and Kayelekera mine-sites will need to be rehabilitated. Yet it is extremely doubtful whether Paladin has set aside adequate funds for rehabilitation. Paladin’s 2017 Annual Report lists a ‘rehabilitation provision‘ of US$86.93 million to cover both LHM and Kayelekera.

One problem is that the funds might not be available for rehabilitation if Paladin goes bankrupt. A second problem is that even if the funds are available, they are unlikely to be sufficient.

For comparison, Energy Resources of Australia’s provision for rehabilitation of the Ranger uranium mine in Australia ‒ also an open-pit uranium mine, like LHM and Kayelekera ‒ is US$403 million (A$526 million). That figure is additional to US$346 million (A$452 million) already spent on water and rehabilitation activities since 2012 ‒ thus total rehabilitation costs could amount to US$749 million (A$978 million) … and the current cost estimates could easily increase as they have in the past.

Rehabilitation of LHM and Kayelekera could be cheaper than rehabilitation of Ranger for several reasons, such as the relative size of the mine-sites. However it stretches credulity to believe that the cost of rehabilitating both LHM and Kayelekera would be an order of magnitude lower than the cost of rehabilitating one mine in Australia.

Paladin was required to lodge a US$10 million Environmental Performance Bond with Malawian banks and presumably that money can be tapped to rehabilitate Kayelekera. But US$10 million won’t scratch the surface. According to a Malawian NGO, the Kayelekera rehabilitation cost is estimated at US$100 million.

Paladin has ignored repeated requests to provide information on the estimated cost of rehabilitating Kayelekera (and also ignored an invitation to comment on a draft of this article), but the figure will be multiples of the US$10 million bond and it is extremely unlikely that Paladin’s provision of US$86.93 million for the rehabilitation of both LHM and Kayelekera is adequate.

If Paladin goes bankrupt, it seems likely that most of the costs associated with the rehabilitation of LHM and Kayelekera will be borne by the Namibian and Malawian governments (with a small fraction of the cost for Kayelekera coming from the bond) ‒ or the mine-sites will not be rehabilitated at all.

Even if Paladin is able to honour its US$86.93 million provision, additional costs necessary for rehabilitation will likely come from the Malawian and Namibian governments, or rehabilitation will be sub-standard.

Problems most acute for Kayelekera

The problem of inadequate provisioning for rehabilitation is most acute for Kayelekera ‒ it is a smaller deposit than LHM and more expensive to mine (Paladin has said that a uranium price of about US$75 per pound would be required for Kayelekera to become economically viable ‒well over twice the current long-term contract price). Thus the prospects for a restart of Kayelekera (and the accumulation of funds for rehabilitation) are especially grim.

Is it reasonable for Australia, a relatively wealthy country, to leave it to the overstretched, under-resourced government of an impoverished nation to clean up the mess left behind by an Australian mining company? Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world. According to a 2013 UN report, more than half of the population live below the poverty line.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should intervene to sort out the situation at Kayelekera and to prevent a repetition of this looming fiasco. The conservative Minister’s eyes might glaze over in response to a moral argument about the importance of Australia being a good global citizen. But there is also a hard-headed commercial argument for intervention to ensure that the Kayelekera mine-site is rehabilitated.

It does Australian companies investing in mining ventures abroad no good whatsoever to leave Kayelekera unrehabilitated, a permanent reminder of the untrustworthiness and unfulfilled promises of an Australian miner and the indifference of the Australian government.

Australia is set to become the biggest international miner on the African continent according to the Australia-Africa Minerals & Energy Group. But Australian companies can’t expect to be welcomed if problems such as Kayelekera remain unresolved.

Dr Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter, where a version of this article was originally published. He is co-author of a new report titled ‘Undermining Africa: Paladin Energy’s Kayelekera Uranium Mine in Malawi’.

June 20, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, Malawi, Namibia, Uranium, wastes | Leave a comment

Thousands protest against uranium mine in Spain

 Mining.com 10 June 18 Valentina Ruiz Leotaud Spanish media are reporting that between 3,000 and 5,000 people hailing from different cities in Spain, as well as from Portugal and France, rallied this weekend in Salamanca to express their rejection to a uranium mine being built in the Retortillo municipality.

June 11, 2018 Posted by | opposition to nuclear, Spain, Uranium | Leave a comment

Tough times for uranium company Cameco – and no improvement in sight

Motley Fool 28th May 2018 , It has been a tough few years for one-time high-flying uranium miner Cameco Corp.. Over the last five years, its value has plummeted by 38% after nuclear power fell into disfavour after the 2011 Fukushima disaster in Japan, which caused the price of uranium to collapse.

Since then, uranium has remained caught in a protracted slump, despite claims by industry insiders and analysts that it is poised to rebound because of a combination of growing demand and emerging supply constraints. Nonetheless, despite these claims, there has been no sign of a sustained rally, and an upturn in the fortunes of the radioactive metal may never occur.

This is because the outlook for uranium is not as bright as claimed, and there is every indication that nuclear power will remain in disfavour. That will continue to weight on Cameco’s market value.
https://www.fool.ca/2018/05/28/despite-an-improved-1st-quarter-2018-the-outlook-for-cameco-corp-remains-poor/

June 1, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Canada, Uranium | Leave a comment

Troubled Australian uranium company Paladin mothballs Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia

Paladin mothballs Namibia uranium mine   Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly 25TH MAY 2018  BY: ESMARIE SWANEPOEL  CREAMER MEDIA SENIOR DEPUTY EDITOR: AUSTRALASIA   PERTH (miningweekly.com) 27 May 18 – Dual-listed  Paladin Energy on Friday confirmed that its Langer Heinrich uranium mine, in Namibia, was being placed under care and maintenance, but said that the low-cost openpit operation would be one of the first to resume production when the uranium market normalised.

Paladin in April said that it was unlikely to resume physical mining activities at the mine despite the medium-grade ore stockpile currently feeding the processing plant set to be exhausted before mid-2019.

The ASX and TSX-listed company on Friday said that it had received consent from all the relevant stakeholders to place the operation under care and maintenance, and had now stopped presenting ore to the plant.

There would be a run-down phase of up to three months where various stages of the plant would be progressively suspended and cleaned, and during this time, there would be some continued production of finished uranium.

Paladin noted that once the run-down phase was complete, operations would have been completely suspended and Langer Heinrich would be under care and maintenance. ……http://www.miningweekly.com/article/paladin-mothballs-namibia-uranium-mine-2018-05-25

 

May 28, 2018 Posted by | AUSTRALIA, business and costs, Namibia, Uranium | Leave a comment

Grand Canyon – too important, too majestic, to be ruined by uranium mining

Renewed uranium mining is an unconscionable threat to the Grand Canyon   Chicago Sun Times, Thomas Frisbie, 05/26/2018,  @thomasfrisbie | email

The spectacular and majestic Grand Canyon, eons in the making, needs our help. Some Republican members of Congress want President Donald Trump to overturn a ban on new uranium mining nearby, along with other conservation measures. We need to urge Congress to protect this national jewel.

Some six million people arrive each year to view the vast, multi-hued and intricate canyon, though most don’t venture far from the rim. For them, it’s an inspiring and breath-taking sight. But hardy trekkers who explore remote trails might see something else: signs warning them they are entering an area of the canyon tainted by radioactivity spewed years ago from uranium mines. National Geographic reports uranium leaching from old mines has rendered 15 springs and five wells inside the canyon unsafe to drink. We don’t need more of that.

Uranium pollution is no way to treat an immense and ancient panorama of stunningly varied rock that has been called one of the seven wonders of the natural world. Recently, I had an opportunity to backpack with intrepid family members from the rim to the bottom and camp along Bright Angel Creek, near where it flows into the Colorado River. The ever-changing vista along the rocky trails was magnificent. Unafraid mule deer browsed just a few feet from us. A rare condor flew overhead. Bold rock squirrels waited for a chance to gnaw and rummage through any backpacks absent-mindedly left on the ground.

….. We now have a president who last year ordered federal agencies to review anything that could interfere with domestic energy production. In response, the Forest Service in November recommended reopening land near the Grand Canyon for uranium mining. In March, groups representing the mining industry asked the U.S. Supreme Court to lift the ban on new uranium mining on public land bordering the Grand Canyon National Park.

Uranium mining is extremely risky for the environment. Mining releases radioactive dust into the air and contaminates the land and water with radioactive and toxic substances.

“Uranium mining has left a toxic trail across the West — including at the Grand
Canyon itself,” the environmental group Environment America wrote in its April report update, “Grand Canyon at Risk: Uranium Mining Threatens a National Treasure.”

The waste rock and dirt left behind can remain radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years and also contain toxic chemicals such as arsenic that can contaminate the surrounding environment and make the mines themselves permanently hazardous, the report says.

Steve Blackledge, Environment America’s conservation program director, says, “Some places are too majestic, too important to ruin. At a time of energy abundance and the remarkable growth of clean renewables, messing with the Grand Canyon to turn on a few more light bulbs is beyond absurd.”……https://chicago.suntimes.com/working/renewed-uranium-mining-is-an-unconscionable-threat-to-the-grand-canyon/

May 28, 2018 Posted by | environment, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Saudi Arabia is seeking to enrich its own uranium, prompting fears of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East after President Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran deal. Riyadh says it wants to make nuclear fuel to diversify its energy sources but recent public warnings from Saudi leaders about acquiring a nuclear bomb have raised doubts about their commitment to non-proliferation as the Iran nuclear agreement teeters.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman warned during a trip to the US in March that if Iran developed a nuclear bomb his country would “follow suit as soon as possible”. That warning was repeated by his foreign minister this
week after Mr Trump withdrew from the deal with Iran and its leaders threatened to resume enrichment. Saudi Arabia would “do whatever it takes to protect our people,” Adel al-Jub eir told CNN. “We have made it very clear that if Iran acquires a nuclear capability we will do everything we can to do the same.”
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/saudis-bid-to-match-iran-by-enriching-uranium-vrj7q9rms

May 14, 2018 Posted by | Saudi Arabia, Uranium | Leave a comment

The uses of enriched uranium

Times 12th May 2018 Uranium is mined and then processed as nuclear fuel for military or civilian purposes. The ore is ground up and chemically treated to yield “yellowcake”, a coarse powder of uranium oxide. Converted into purified fuel rods, it can be used in pressurised heavy water reactors.

For other uses, the uranium oxide is converted into uranium hexafluoride gas so that it can be enriched. The enrichment process increases the percentage of a particular isotope, uranium-235, which makes up 0.7 per cent of natural uranium. The rest is uranium-238. The commonest method of enrichment is isotope separation by gas centrifuge. Centrifuges rotate at high speed, separating the isotopes by weight and sending the heavier uranium-238 to the outside of the cylinder while the lighter 235 collects at the centre.

The slightly enriched stream is extracted and fed into the next centrifuge, where the process is repeated, enriching it further. Most nuclear power reactors use uranium that has been enriched to a composition of between 3 and 5 per cent uranium-235.  Anything up to 20 per cent uranium-235 is called low-enriched uranium. Uranium enriched to between 12 and 19.75 per cent is used in the production of medical isotopes in research reactors.

Uranium enriched above 20 per cent is called highly enriched uranium, while 20 per cent is the lowest theoretical threshold for weapons-grade uranium. Most weapons use uranium that is 90 per cent enriched. The first stages
require more centrifuges due to the volume of uranium. The process gets easier as purity increases, making the leap from low to high-enrichment easier than the leap from natural uranium to low-enriched. Once the 20 per cent threshold is breached, weapons grade is within reach.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/world/iran-saudi-arabia-uranium-from-ore-to-weapons-grade-mf0jdqr86

May 14, 2018 Posted by | 2 WORLD, Reference, Uranium | Leave a comment

Uranium market looking crook – again!

Uranium Loses Power as U.S. Miners Seek Protection, WSJ By Rhiannon Hoyle, 
 Fears that uranium will be the next commodity swept up in the U.S.’s trade offensive have the market grinding to a halt.

The price of U3O8, a common uranium compound used mainly in nuclear-power generation, has already sunk 12% this year to roughly $21 a pound—near its 12-year low of $18, struck in 2016—according to the Ux Consulting Co…..   (subscribers only) https://www.wsj.com/articles/uranium-loses-power-as-u-s-miners-seek-protection-1525424829

May 5, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

Pretty much permanent now- the slump in the uranium industry

Uranium industry slumps, nuclear power dead in the water, Chain Reaction magazine, Dr Jim Green, April 2018

Very few mines could operate at a profit at current prices. Some mines are profitable because earlier contracts stipulated higher prices, while many mines are operating at a loss. Many companies have been loathe to close operating mines, or to put them into care-and-maintenance, even if the only other option is operating at a loss. They have been playing chicken, hoping that other companies and mines will fold first and that the resultant loss of production will drive up prices. “We have to recognise that we over-produce, and we are responsible for this fall in the price,” said Areva executive Jacques Peythieu in April 2017.

Current prices would need to more than double to encourage new mines ‒ a long-term contract price of about US$70–$80 is typically cited as being required to encourage the development of new mines.

The patterns outlined above were repeated in 2017. It was another miserable year for the uranium industry. A great year for those of us living in uranium producing countries who don’t want to see new mines open and who look forward to the closure of existing mines. And a great year for the nuclear power industry ‒ in the narrow sense that the plentiful availability of cheap uranium allows the industry to focus on other problems.

Cut-backs announced 

The patterns that have prevailed over the past five years or so might be changed by decisions taken by Cameco and Kazatomprom (Kazakhstan) in late 2017 to significantly reduce production. Canada closed McArthur River in Canada in January and plans to keep it closed for around 10 months ‒ it had been producing more uranium than any other mine in the world. Kazakhstan has been producing almost 40% of world supply in recent years and plans to reduce production by 20% from 2018‒2020.

Previous cut-backs in Canada and Kazakhstan have had little or no effect, and so far the late-2017 announcements have had no effect. But the cut-backs are significant and their impact might yet be felt.

A late-2017 report by Cantor Fitzgerald equity research argued that the decisions by Cameco and Kazatomprom could result in a “step change” for uranium prices. But Warwick Grigor from Far East Capital was downbeat about Cameco’s announcement. “I don’t see this as a turnaround for the uranium price; at best they will stay where they are, but it doesn’t signal a boom in price,” he said in November 2017.

BHP marketing vice-president Vicky Binns said in December 2017 that uranium markets would remain oversupplied for close to a decade, with downward pressure remaining on uranium prices despite Cameco’s production cuts. She said that demand for uranium could outstrip supply by the late 2020s but that could change if developed nations close their nuclear reactors earlier than expected, or if renewables take a larger than expected market share.

Equally downbeat comments have been made by other industry insiders and analysts in recent years. Former Paladin Energy chief executive John Borshoff said in 2013 that the uranium industry “is definitely in crisis” and “is showing all the symptoms of a mid-term paralysis”. Former World Nuclear Association executive Steve Kidd in May 2014 predicted “a long period of relatively low prices”. Nick Carter from Ux Consulting said in April 2016 that he did not see a supply deficit in the market until “the late 2020s”.

Perhaps a uranium price increase is on the way but it will do little to salvage Australia’s uranium industry. Apart from BHP’s Olympic Dam mine in SA, the only other operating uranium mine in Australia is Beverley Four Mile in SA. At Ranger in the NT, mining has ceased, stockpiles of ore are being processed, and ERA is planning a $500 million project to decommission and rehabilitate the mine site.

And with the cost of a single power reactor climbing to as much as $20 billion, proposals to introduce nuclear power to Australia seem more and more quixotic and are now largely limited to the far right ‒ in particular, Australians Conservatives’ luminary Senator Cory Bernardi and the Minerals Council of Australia.

Even Dr Ziggy Switkowski ‒ who used to be nuclear power’s head cheerleader in Australia and was appointed to lead the Howard government’s review of nuclear power ‒ recently said that “the window for gigawatt-scale nuclear has closed”. He said nuclear power is no longer cheaper than renewables and the levelised cost of electricity is rapidly diverging in favour of renewables.  https://www.foe.org.au/uranium_industry_slumps

Jim Green is the national nuclear campaigner with Friends of the Earth Australia and editor of the Nuclear Monitor newsletter produced by the World Information Service on Energy and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service.

Published in Chain Reaction #132, April 2018. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia. www.foe.org.au/chain_reaction_132

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Australian uranium company Paladin looks to closing its loss-making Langer Heinrich uranium mine

Paladin Energy has flagged the potential closure of its flagship Langer Heinrich uranium mine, just two months after it returned to the Australian Stock Exchange after an $800 million debt re­structuring. … (subscribers only)
https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/mining-energy/paladin-may-shut-lossmaking-langer-heinrich-uranium-mine/news-story/53c1dda5b5b01ff36771af7b683aaafc

April 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium | Leave a comment

Who REALLY benefits from uranium mining in Grand Canyon country?

Uranium in Canyon Country: Part 2 of 2: Who benefits from uranium mining? Grand Canyon News, By Erin Ford , 27 Mar 18,   GRAND CANYON, Ariz. — There are currently 831 mining claims in the roughly 1 million acres withdrawn by former Interior Secretary in 2012, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

There may be a healthy profit to be made on the claims, as legal action by mining industry groups and a recommended review of the ban by the Forest Service seems to indicate. But who is making the profit?

The BLM’s report indicates that only about 2 percent of the 831 mining claims are held by U.S.-based companies – those belong to Liberty Star Uranium and Metals in Tucson, Arizona. The rest, discounting privately-held claims (5 percent), belong to foreign-based companies. Of the remaining 93 percent, companies based out of Canada hold 712 claims (86 percent) and a UK-based Vane Minerals holds 60 claims (7 percent).

Uranium production in the U.S. has not been a profitable enterprise since the bottom fell out of the uranium market in the early 1990s. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), there are currently 61 nuclear-based power plants in the U.S. — no new plants have been commissioned since the near-catastrophic incident at Pennsylvania’s Three Mile Island facility in 1979. The end of the Cold War in 1991 meant that proliferation of nuclear weapons was suspended, a pact that remains largely in place. As a result, demand for uranium fell sharply, prices bottomed out and uranium extraction became a pricey enterprise with low return on investment.

………Where’s the profit?

In a petition filed with the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC), Energy Fuels Inc., a Canadian company with a 12 percent stake in uranium mining claims around Grand Canyon, asserts that the commercial uranium stockpile was 6 percent higher than 2015 levels.

If demand is lower and supplies are higher, how do these companies plan to profit off increased mining activity?

The answer may lie in three things: President Donald Trump’s energy dominance agenda, potential U.S. Supreme Court ruling and Energy Fuels’ petition to the DOC……….

Who benefits?

Energy Fuels, Inc. recently filed a petition with the DOC for relief under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. In simplest terms, the company is asking the administration to issue a buy American requirement by limiting uranium imports as a threat to national security. The premise is the same as the tariffs to be potentially imposed on steel and aluminum imports — to revive a U.S.-based industry by steeply taxing competitors or eliminating them altogether.

But Reimondo points out that uranium mining isn’t a strong economic driver in northern Arizona, and even if it was, the U.S. doesn’t reap any rewards. The government, which receives royalty payments from industries that extract minerals or other commodities from federal lands, doesn’t receive royalties from uranium mining.

Comparatively, the tourism and travel economy pumps more than 900 million into the region each year, and supports nearly 20,000 jobs, according to a joint 2011 report by the U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Forest Service and BLM. The report also estimates that uranium mining could support only about 650 local jobs — and those jobs aren’t permanent. Once a mine is depleted, on-site jobs will evaporate. Energy Fuels says its Canyon mine, which is currently permitted to operate near Red Butte about six miles from the South Rim, is expected to employ about 60 people at peak production.

“Mining does not drive our economy here,” said Coconino County Supervisor Art Babbott in an interview. “Access to public lands, that’s what is our important economic driver here.” https://www.grandcanyonnews.com/news/2018/mar/27/uranium-canyon-country-part-2-2-who-benefits-urani/

 

March 27, 2018 Posted by | business and costs, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment

U.S. mining industry files petitions to overturn prohibition on uranium mining near Grand Canyon

Guardian 10th March 2018, The US mining industry has asked the supreme court to overturn an Obama-era
rule prohibiting the mining of uranium on public lands adjacent to the
Grand Canyon. The National Mining Association (NMA) and the American
Exploration and Mining Association (AEMA) filed petitions on Friday asking
the court to reverse the 2012 ban on new uranium mining claims on more than
1 million acres of public land surrounding Grand Canyon national park.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/10/grand-canyon-uranium-mining-ban-supreme-court

March 12, 2018 Posted by | Legal, Uranium, USA | Leave a comment