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...
Uranium is usually traded as yellowcake, U3O8

Yellow Cake Debut

by Debra Fiakas, CFA Investors have a new opportunity for a stake in nuclear power.  Last week a successful initial offering was staged by a new player in the uranium supply chain.  Yellow Cake, plc. (YCA: LON) sold 76 million shares at £200 per share, raising £151 million (US$200 million). Uranium Participation Corporation (U:  TO)took US$25 million of the deal, giving the Canada-based uranium speculator a 16% stake in the company.  Yellow Cake is listed on AIM under the symbol YCA.  In its third day of trading the stock closed up 1.25% from its debut. Yellow Cake means to be a player in the uranium market, buying and...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...
uranium

Admin Reviews Fuel Production To Mixed Nuclear Reactions

by Debra Fiakas, CFA The U.S. Administration took a swing at the uranium ball, but it is not clear if it was a miss and strike out or just a walk.  Some in the uranium industry are applauding a decision by the Trump Administration on the January 2018 petition by U.S. uranium producers Energy Fuels (UUUU:  NYSE) and Ur-energy (URG:  NYSE), requesting protection from uranium imports. The U.S. Commerce Department had investigated the petition under Section 232 of the 1962 Trade Expansion Act.  No new trade restrictions are being implemented at this time, but the Administration is establishing a working group to analyze U.S. nuclear fuel production.   A report...

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...

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...

Nuclear Stocks: Too Hot for an Eco Portfolio?

Guest Author Nuclear energy is not the “bad boy” it once was For many years, nuclear energy was labelled as a potential threat to the environment as well as the global population.  Interestingly enough, the memories of the disasters at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island are now distant and the perspective of nuclear energy is changing in positive fashion.  The growing worries created by the ballooning demands on the world’s energy sources, an increase in the competition for energy supplies, rising concerns regarding global warming, and the volatility of the gas and oil prices are reasons that...

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...

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...

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...
uranium mine

Flocking to Uranium

The post Yellow Cake Debut described the capital raising effort of one of the newest players in the uranium supply chain.  Yellow Cake leadership brought the aspiring intermediary to the capital market at a critical time for uranium producers.  The uranium market has been in an extended trough period since the industry peak in 2007.  At that time considerable development had been undertaken and capacity was beginning to generate sufficient supply to create stockpiled inventories.  As this bloated condition persisted, in 2011 the nuclear power and its uranium supply chain were shocked by a Pacific Ocean tsunami that led to a nuclear spill at...
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