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TheStreet Open House

Uranium Market Activity Slow, But Nuclear Renaissance Strong

But while Germany may have flipped its perspective on the nuclear renaissance, nations like China, France, Argentina, Bangladesh and even oil-rich Saudi Arabia are staying the course.

Representatives from AREVA and Électricité de France (EDF) (EPA:EDF), along with French Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, are in Saudi Arabia this week to discuss the sale of nuclear reactors with government officials. The talks follow a 2011 nuclear agreement between the two countries. The Middle Eastern nation has no nuclear power program currently, but is pondering constructing a facility with a capacity of 17 gigawatts by 2032, reported Reuters. The AREVA-EDF alliance may face competition from Westinghouse-Toshiba and a South Korean consortium.

AREVA is increasing production capacity at its Georges Besse II uranium enrichment facility in Southern France, a January 16 press release states. The South plant is now at producing at 70 percent of its production rate and the North plant is anticipated to commence operations by March 2013. The facility should reach its full capacity of 7.5 million SWU in 2016.

EDF is reportedly in discussions with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Company regarding partnering on a project to build a new nuclear plant in the UK. If successful, the deal could replace EDF's partnership with Centrica (LSE:CNA), 4-traders reported.

Bangladesh, which recently signed a $500-million loan agreement with Russia, will commence construction of its first nuclear power plant by October 2013, according to Channel NewsAsia. The Rooppur nuclear power facility will have two 1,000-megawatt reactors. The country is anticipated to run out of its main energy source, natural gas, within a decade.

Argentina is looking for a bigger piece of the nuclear industry pie, having recently announced agreements with the United Arab Emirates for “peaceful nuclear energy,” UPI reported. The Latin American country is set to launch the third of its own reactors this month. Argentinian gross electricity generation for December 2012 reached 21 GW, a 2-percent increase year over year, as consumption demand grew 6.8 percent during the same period. Although thermo- and hydro-based power accounted for the majority of electricity generation in the country, respectively increasing year over year by 14.6 percent and 1.6 percent, nuclear power had the highest growth, up 26.2 percent year over year, according to figures cited by Business News Americas.

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