United States Still Favors Nuclear Power

By Dave Brown — Exclusive to Uranium Investing News

United States Still Favors Nuclear Power

According to the results of Gallup's annual Environment survey, conducted earlier this month, the majority of Americans continue to favor nuclear energy as a source of electricity for the United States. The survey indicated that 57 percent of participants were in favor of nuclear power this year, the same amount as in 1994, the first year for th e survey. This year's results also demonstrate an equal level of support among participants as last year, just prior to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Support for the nuclear industry as measured by the survey has ranged from a low of 46 percent in 2001 to a high of 62 percent in 2010.

These results are of significance to investors as the US is the largest consumer of uranium in the world, with 104 operational nuclear reactors. Continued public support and confidence from the country should guide future political decisions and foster economic interest in domestic and international uranium resources as well as in nuclear industry stakeholders.

Uranium spot market prices

The uranium spot market price as reported by TradeTech remained at $51.00 per pound. The price stability overshadows two weeks of relatively dynamic activity in the spot uranium market, where ten transactions were reported. The majority of potential demand is focused on deliveries further into the future and has had little impact on current prices. Seven transactions concluded last week, compared with only three transactions reported this week.

Company news

Cameco Corp. (TSX: CCO,NYSE:CCJ) has offered to acquire uranium from Japanese utilities that are unable to operate the 53 nuclear power reactors that have been offline since last March. Japan's final operating reactor is scheduled to shut down in May, while stress test results are being reviewed by the country's nuclear regulator.

Cameco is confident that Japan will bring at least a portion of its fleet back online in the near future; however, a timeline has not been identified at this point. The Japanese Prime Minister is expected to instigate reactor operations based on positive safety results and political and public support.

According to Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel, the company is "partners with some of the Japanese utilities in some mining projects. We've talked to them about whether they're staying in the game and indeed they are staying in. They're continuing to invest in exploration. I think that's positive news for the Japanese fleet going forward.”

Additional support for increased near-term demand for uranium was offered by Luc Oursel, the CEO of  AREVA (EPA: AREVA), at a nuclear industry event in Seoul. Oursel stated that "[i]t has obviously slowed down a certain number of projects but when we look now as a global situation, we think this will pick up soon."

The news is a positive development for investors and uranium producers as it confirms that future global demand may gain traction even sooner than anticipated. With top-level producers demonstrating confidence in a recommitment to nuclear policy, the anti-nuclear sentiment that has gained momentum in Western European nations seems to be settling.

Bill Gates offers positive future perspective for nuclear industry

Bill Gates talked about the future of energy use in a Wall Street Journal interview at the 2012 ECO:nomics conference, commenting, “the thing I'm investing in is a fourth-generation design [of a nuclear power reactor].” Sharing insight on the underlying technology, he noted that “the concept of this TerraPower reactor is that in the same reactor you both burn and breed. Instead of making plutonium and extracting it, we take uranium and convert that and burn it.”

Junior company news

First Uranium Corp. (TSX: FIU) announced that it has entered into a binding letter agreement for the sale of First Uranium Ltd. to Gold One International Ltd. (ASX: GDO).

Mesa Exploration Corp. (TSXV: MSA) announced that six drill holes at the Moonshine Springs uranium project have recently been completed. The program tested extensions of previously discovered targets at the property.

Uranium Resources (LSE: URA) reported drill results for the six-month period ended last December. The managing director's report indicates that recent results for the Mtonya project suggest that it bears similarities in its geology, lithology, and mineralogy to the well-known roll-front deposits in Kazakhstan and Wyoming.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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