Skip to main content

Not Speeding But Not Stopping

olympic-dam-uranium-mine The analysts at the Commonwealth of Australia Bank want you to know:

"But it is a case of one step backward, two steps forward," they said in a review of the sector. "Nuclear growth plans remain intact in China, India, Russia, South Korea, the U.S. and U.K. among others, and dominate the medium- term uranium industry outlook."

The Australians maintain an interest as a large exporter of uranium, but the salient point is that the accident at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi has not dimmed interest in nuclear energy in many countries. One can see that in any number of stories, but it’s interesting to see it aggregated where its abandonment would cause financial pain – as it would in Australia – even if it has no nuclear facilities of its own. But uranium? it has a lot of that. You can read more about uranium mining in Australia here.

Obviously, not speeding ahead is good policy. But so is not stopping.

---

Speaking of which:

Developers of major energy projects in the U.K. such as nuclear power plants and the associated grid infrastructure will now have greater certainty on planning applications following parliament's approval of the Energy National Policy Statements, the government said Tuesday.

You can read the rest at the site – this is a procedural change, so we’ll see if it has the intended outcome – but the point is that the U.K., which has been working on this change for awhile sees no reason not to proceed. Plenty of time within this framework to apply lessons learned from Fukushima to license applications as they come in. This simply allows for better planning and allocation of assets for exceptionally big projects.

---

And a little more:

While America and Europe dither over nuclear power, Asia is going full steam ahead.

According to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency, 65 percent of nuclear plants, currently under construction, are in Asia, with China and India leading the pack. China, like India, relies on coal for 70 percent of its electricity needs… And both know that the only way to power continued economic growth is through nuclear.

I’m not sure “dither” is the word I’d have used – see bit above for Europe not dithering – but fine. Again, the argument is clear: the benefits of nuclear energy remain well understood and the lessons of Japan will be incorporated as soon as right now and into the period ahead. No reason to stop.

This story is looking primarily at China and India from an investor’s perspective. As always when we point in such a direction, the word is caution: not doing research on stocks before buying can lead to many tears and a grim future.

Australia’s Olympic Dam uranium mine.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…