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...

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...

Energy Dominoes From Japan

Joe McCabe Energy amazes me; the ramifications from elementary school physics of converting potential energy into kinetic energy.  It's happening everywhere around us, and can have far reaching ramifications. An example is the potential energy in the form of pressure built up under Japan in plate tectonics before the recent earthquake, turned into land shaking, country moving, tsunami creating kinetic energy that reaches across the world. There are other forces, lets call it society energy, that can create financial shock waves in the energy industry including political, religious, and inaccurate supply curve assumptions. Energy Industry Domino...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...
NuScale reactor

Two Stocks That Could Benefit From NuScale’s Sucess

After toiling away for almost two decades, perfecting its nuclear power reactor design, NuScale Power is on the cusp of commercial stage with its innovative Small Modular Reactor (SMR).  The company has applied for certification by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and expects to approval by 2021.  In a departure from conventional construction methods NuScale’s SMR is to be manufactured in a factory setting and assembled on site. NuScale has also lined up a first customer, the Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS), which is planning to build a nuclear power plant with twelve of NuScale’s 50-gigawatt SMRs.  UAMPS expects its project to be...

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...

Yankee Graphite

Several graphite developers have made plans to integrate forward into the hottest segment of the market  -  battery-grade graphite.  According to Industrial Minerals, spherical graphite suitable for lithium ion battery anodes is priced in a range of $2,700 to $2,800 per metric ton in China where many battery manufacturers are located.  This compares quite well to the range of about $655 to $790 per metric ton for flake graphite concentrate. The integration strategy has sent the sector into a frenzy of activity to prove their graphite meets expectations of battery manufacturers.  The only graphite deposit in the U.S. mainland is under development by Westwater Resources...

Epic Changes Are Coming in the Electric Power, Transportation and Energy Storage Sectors

John Petersen Epic is the only word I can use to describe an evolving tragedy that killed tens of thousands of people, inflicted hundreds of billions in property damage, destroyed 3.5% of Japan's base-load power generating capacity in a heartbeat and will cause recurring aftershocks in the global electric power, transportation and energy storage sectors for decades. While I'd love to believe the worst is behind us, I fear the times of trouble have just begun. Since it's clear that Japan will have to turn inward and serve the urgent needs of its own population first, the...

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...

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...