A Light At The End Of The Bridge For Lightbridge?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Earlier this week nuclear fuel technology developer, Lightbridge Corporation (LTBR:  Nasdaq), reported year-end 2015 financial results and provided an update on recent accomplishments.  Not unexpectedly, Lightbridge reported a net loss of $4.3 million or $0.24 per share for the year.  During the year the company scraped together $900,000 in revenue from consulting services, an effort to leverage the expertise of its scientists and engineers as they continue work on new fuel technologies.  The contribution margin of the consulting work was $216,239  -  not nearly enough to cover administrative spending or the costs of...

Exelon’s Dividend Siren Song

by Debra Fiakas CFA When the market gets volatile, many investors dive behind the protective shield of dividends.  Exelon Corporation (EXC:  NYSE) is an owner of nuclear power generation plants and is included in Crystal Equity Research’s Atomics Index of companies using the atom to create energy because more than half of its power output is generated at nuclear power plants.  The company offers a handsome dividend near $1.24 per year.  Granted it is not a small-cap company, which is the usual target for this column, but yield is beguiling.  At the current price the dividend yield is...

Lightbridge Flirts with Areva

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week nuclear fuel developer Lightbridge Corporation (LTBR:  Nasdaq) announced an agreement with nuclear power plant builder Areva (AREVA:  Paris; ARVCF:  OTC/QB) to form a joint venture.  The present pact is a precursor to a formal joint venture agreement that would team up the two companies  -  one very large multinational nuclear power house and one still quite small fuel developer  -  in joint development of Lightbridge’s metallic nuclear fuel technology. Lightbridge has developed and patented a novel design that replaces conventional tubes filled with ceramic uranium pellets now used by pressurized...

Light at the End of the Tunnel for Lightbridge

by Debra Fiakas CFA The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to execute on the Clean Power Plan aimed at reducing carbon emissions from U.S. power generation facilities.  Each state has to meet a set of standards set by the EPA based that state’s particular circumstances in electrical generation.  The carbon pollution limits begin in 2022 and ramp to full effect by 2030. In the meantime, the power generation industry must begin preparation in order to be ready for the initial standards.  The lower-carbon emitting power sources will clearly be in favor as a consequence of the...

Offshore Wind A Big Part Of Why GE Wants Alstom

Who's the Energy Alpha Dog? GE or Siemens? By Jeff Siegel General Electric (NYSE:GE) wants to acquire one of the largest companies in France, and it could get what it wants if Germany doesn't get in the way. Alstom SA (AOMFF), the target of GE's desires, is a French energy and transportation company with a market value of approximately $11.5 billion. It deals in hydroelectric and nuclear power, environmental control systems, wind turbines and battery storage, as well as trains and rail infrastructure. It's a huge company, and GE could spend as much as $13 billion to...

Nuclear and Solar From Down Under

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week the Aussies invaded New York City, bivouacking at a popular hotel and parading a string of Australia-based companies in front of investors.  Of course, there were the usual mining and minerals companies for which resource-rich Australia is so famous.  However, the Australia Stock Exchange  -  one of the event sponsors  -   has diversified with listings in communications, biotechnology and alternative energy. One of the presenters, Silex Systems, Inc. (SLX:  ASX and SILXY:  OTCQX) is a talented little company with technologies for solar and nuclear power generation.  Silex has developed a laser...

NextEra Energy: the Real Attraction

by Debra Fiakas CFA One member of the NuStart Energy consortium of nuclear power developers is Florida Power & Light or FPL Group, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NEE: NYSE).  The group had its sights on getting a nuclear power plant construction and operating license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).  The company operates the third largest nuclear power generation fleet in the U.S. composed of eight nuclear reactors at five plant sites.  The fleet is far flung, ranging from Florida to New Hampshire and Wisconsin and West to Iowa. FPL is working on an expansion of...

Watch This Nuclear Player Boil

by Debra Fiakas CFA The last post on Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI: NYSE) noted the entrance of CBI into the nuclear field with the acquisition of The Shaw Group, which has an exclusive relationship with Toshiba Corporation related to the Toshiba Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR).  More evolutionary than revolutionary the ABWR is supposed to be superior other designs in its light water reactor class.  ABWR produces power by superheating water to the boiling point. The resulting steam is then used to drive a turbine attached to a generator.  Other light water reactors also heat...

CB&I: The Energy Beyond Bridges & Iron

by Debra Fiakas CFA The business interests of Chicago Bridge and Iron (CBI:  NYSE) have varied far and wide from its bridge building start in the late 1800s.  These days the company is no longer headquartered in Chicago, builds a lot more than bridges and works with so many more materials than iron.  It may seem even more questionable to include Chicago Bridge and Iron among alternative energy companies.  However, since February 2013 when CB&I bought out The Shaw Group with its nuclear power plant construction services, CB&I has jumped directly into the alternative energy...

Book Review: Public Meltdown

Ben Plotzker The Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant. The focus on the public’s view of nuclear plant operator Entergy (NYSE:ETR) sets Public Meltdown: The Story of the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Plant, by Richard Watts apart from other nuclear energy books.  The book avoids pro or anti-nuclear positions, and focus on scientific aspects of the plant, and instead tells the story of one nuclear plant’s journey through history.  That plant is Vermont Yankee, a General Electric (GE) boiling water reactor type, the same...

A Nuclear Waste Disposal Stock

Debra Fiakas CFA Many are firmly opposed and a few more are skeptical of the nuclear energy industry.  A big concern is the waste resulting from the uranium enrichment process that is part and parcel of the reactors we have chosen to use for nuclear power generation.  Some see recycling of the waste as an answer.  First a short primer on uranium and then the recycling story. Natural uranium consists of a mixture of three radioactive isotopes which are identified by the mass numbers U-238 (99.27% by mass), U-235 (0.72%) and U-234 (0.0054%).  Uranium is everywhere...

Junior Uranium Miner ’In Position’ to Grow

by Debra Fiakas CFA To understand UR Energy, Inc. (URG:  NYSE AMEX, URE:  TSX) investors need to polish up on their Latin phrases.  UR Energy is planning to mine uranium for the nuclear power industry using a mining practice called in situ or literally in position.  In conventional mining operations large amounts of uranium-laced rock are cut out of the earth and sent to a milling center where the rock is crushed as the first step in separating uranium from the other minerals.  In situ miners like UR Energy leave the earth and rock undisturbed, instead injecting oxygenated...

Smale Scale Nukes

by Debra Fiakas CFA The on-going crisis at one of Japan’s key nuclear power plants following earthquake and tsunami damage has everyone, even proponents of nuclear energy on edge. Previous nuclear accidents, such as the disasters at Russia’s Chernobyl reactor and the U.S.’s Three Mile Island, were traced back to human error. Now it appears regulators and operators of Japan’s Fukushima plant may have had some awareness that the plant design could not withstand the onslaught of a major tsunami. Again better human performance may have averted the situation that now threatens a breach of a reactor core. Designers...

An uNclear Future

25 years on from Chernobyl: Nuclear’s unclear future, and the on-going renaissance for alternative energy stocks Karl L. Mitchell, Ph.D. Summary On April 26th, 1986, the world’s worst nuclear accident occurred at the Chernobyl nuclear power station in northern Ukraine.  The blast spewed a cloud of radioactive fallout over much of Europe, causing many hundreds of thousands to flee from their homes in Ukraine, Belarus and western Russia.  25 years later we are facing the only other level 7 event on the International Nuclear Event Scale; at Fukushima, Japan.  Although less immediately catastrophic, it has resulted in...

Four Green Money Managers’ Top Stock Picks

Green money managers' stock picks after the Japanese nuclear crisis. Even as the nuclear disaster in Japan unfolds, it's clear that the world's energy industry will be forever changed. Russian reactors were never considered safe, but a Japanese to have a nuclear meltdown is an entirely different story. Market Reaction Since Monday, nuclear stocks and ETFs have been plummeting. As of Wednesday night, The Market Vectors Uranium + Nuclear Energy ETF (NYSE:NLR), the iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index (NASD:NUCL), PowerShares Global Nuclear Energy Portfolio ETF (NYSE:PKN), and the Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE:URA) are down...

Clean Energy Stocks to Fill the Nuclear Gap

Tom Konrad, CFA If the Japanese use less nuclear power, what will take its place? I'm astounded by the resilience and discipline of the Japanese people in response to the three-pronged earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disaster, perhaps in large part by my cultural roots in the egocentric United States, where we seem to have forgotten the virtue of self-sacrifice for the greater good.  Yet while Japanese society has shown itself to be particularly resilient, the Japanese electric grid is much less resilient.  According to International Energy Agency statistics, Japan produced 258 TWh of electricity from...