The uranium spot price slid 50 cents, to $42.75 per pound U3O8, in 2013's first week of trading, according to TradeTech. The consultancy firm also reported that materials purchases for delivery later in the year fetched a higher price than transactions involving immediate delivery — a sign that market participants are anticipating higher uranium spot prices in 2013. The results of a recent Bloomberg News analyst survey show that the spot price for uranium will average $55 per pound this year. That's still a far cry from the $70 to $80 per pound that industry experts say is needed to make most major uranium production operations economical. Thomas Neff, a uranium analyst at MIT, told the news agency that the market will most likely not see “strong demand signals” until 2015 as nuclear restarts in Japan are expected to move “fairly slow[ly].” Virginia's Coal and Energy Commission voted 11 to 2 on Monday to recommend that in its 2013 session, which begins this week, the state's General Assembly address overturning Virginia's 30-year uranium mining moratorium. Lifting the ban would allow Virginia Uranium to carry through with its plans to mine the Coles Hill uranium project — valued at $7 billion. The vote follows that of Danville's city council, whose members voted unanimously in favor of keeping the ban on uranium mining, according to a local media report. The first of four 1,080 MW reactors at China's Ningde nuclear facility began initial operation December 28, with full commercial operation to follow after the plant's operator, China Guangdong Nuclear Power, conducts additional testing. All four CPR-1,000 units are expected to be operational by the end of 2015. Turkey will soon announce the winning bid for a tender to construct the nation's second nuclear power facility on the Black Sea Coast at Sinop. Nuclear firms from China, Japan and South Korea are in the running. Construction of Turkey's first nuclear power plant will begin this year under Russia's state-owned Rosatom. The government of Turkey plans to build a total of three nuclear power plants in the next five years.