Saturday, January 23, 2010

Western lands uranium gopher for 01/23/10

gopherThis blog post is an edited version of content published in Fuel Cycle Week for 01/13/10 V9:N359 by International Nuclear Associates, Washington, DC.

Strathmore gets better offer for Reno Creek. Bayswater matches it.

The Reno Creek property in Wyoming was briefly the object of a bidding war between Bayswater Uranium Corp. (CVE:BYU), which last August offered to buy it, and an unnamed third firm, which offered a sweeter deal to the owner, Strathmore Minerals (CVE:STM).

Having accepted the third-party offer, Strathmore give Bayswater a week to match the terms—and on Jan. 7 Bayswater and Strathmore struck a new deal.

Strathmore CEO Dave Miller told FCW the new terms are “a substantial improvement over the last deal. We get $17.5 million in cash and $2.5 million in stock, and in 90 days.” The previous agreement had stretched out payments of $26 million in cash over a two-year period.

Miller said the proceeds from the sale would help develop Strathmore’s Roca Honda property in New Mexico and the Gas Hills properties in Wyoming. Strathmore “has restarted its work on a uranium mill in New Mexico” as part of its joint venture with Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo as well, he added.

The Strathmore board has directed Miller to sell “dozens of other properties” and concentrate company resources on just those two projects.

John Gomez, who leads Bayswater’s investor relations office, told FCW the property is attractive because, “it is in an advanced stage of development as an ISR mine [and] has one of the best potential operations in the U.S.” Bayswater sees a production potential of 20 million pounds of uranium over a decade.

It would take four to five years to permit the site and bring the site to production, he added, but he could not say when the firm would apply for a mining permit from the NRC. He added that the firm is open to partnerships to develop the property.

To gain investor confidence Bayswater executed a 1:10 stock consolidation effective Jan. 5. It reduces outstanding shares from 154 million to 15.4 million without reducing market capitalization. The action would “facilitate investment in the firm because there is much less dilution of shareholder interests with new investors coming to the table,” Gomez said. Bayswater will now be traded on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “BYU.”

In an unrelated action, Bayswater completed an NI 43-101 technical report for Ur-Energy’s (AMEX:URG) wholly owned subsidiary Hauber Project LLC. Ur-Energy and Bayswater completed a venture agreement last December through which Bayswater may earn a 75% interest in the Crook County, Wyoming project by spending $1 million in eligible exploration expenses over a four-year period.

The resource estimate concluded the Hauber Project properties hold about 1.45 million pounds of U3O8 in the Indicated Resources category, in 423,000 tons at an average grade of 0.17% U3O8.

Neutron Energy plans New Mexico mill

Colorado-based Neutron Energy LLC now has until April 12 to raise $11 million to acquire Uranium Energy’s 49% stake in Cibola Resources LLC, according to a Jan. 5 statement by Uranium Energy (AMEX:UEC). UEC Chief Executive Amir Adnani told FCW the firm is selling the stake in the 6,700-acre property in New Mexico to concentrate its resources on its Texas uranium operations.

If the deal goes through Neutron will gain 100% ownership of the property. Company executives told FCW they plan to erect a 2,000-ton/day mill at a site adjacent to the Jackpile Paguate mine, which was operated in the 1970s. Mike Neumann, vice president for environment at Neutron, said the company has filed a letter of intent with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to submit a license in the first quarter of 2011.

George Byers, Neutron’s vice president for investor relations, would not reveal the mill’s price tag but said the firm was confident it could raise the sum. It could sidestep some costs because a permitted 2,200-ton/day mill once occupied the site. That mill was dismantled in 2001.

But a 2007 company press release notes that much infrastructure remains, including electric power, 1,800 acre-feet of industrial use water rights, a 1,842-foot shaft and a fully permitted, partially completed tailings disposal site.

Neutron would feed the mill with ore from its Marquez Canyon project on the Juan Tafoya property in the Grants uranium district. Both the mine and the mill site are on private property and linked by an access road in McKinley County.

Byers told FCW the company planned to drill “44 confirming holes as twins” in a selected group of 600 drill holes sunk in the 1980s. The New Mexico authorities issued a drilling permit last March, and the firm has engaged an independent consultant to prepare an NI 43-101 compliant report for the site. There is no historical production data, because the mine was never operated. He would not provide an estimate of production.

Neutron, which is privately held, expects to attract capital from the growing number of investors who are interested in uranium again, due to EPA’s designation of carbon dioxide as a hazardous pollutant. “There will be much greater growth for nuclear energy as a result,” he said, “And that means more demand for uranium.”

“There’s lots of cash in New York looking to invest in uranium mining,” Byers added.

Asked about the regulatory and political environment for uranium operations in New Mexico, he said prospects for mining on private land have improved due to the successful permitting and construction of the Urenco uranium-enrichment plant in Eunice.

In an unrelated action, Neutron acquired the 50% share of the Grant-Uranium joint venture from Primary Corp (TSX:PYC) by issuing 3.5 million shares of stock. The deal gives Neutron a 100% stake in a private site on the west side of Mt. Taylor near Strathmore’s Roca Honda mine in New Mexico. Primary now holds a 24.5% stake in Neutron with 14.3 million shares.

Energy Fuels application for new mill docketed by State of Colorado

The State of Colorado has docketed the application by Energy Fuels (TSE:EFR) for a new 500 ton/day uranium mill on the western slope to be administratively complete. The action starts a 14-month clock ticking during which time there will be two public hearings and completion of the technical review of the application.

Frank Filas , Environmental manager at Energy Fuels, told FCW the review by the State of Colorado involves a ” lengthy and technically rigorous process.” He added the state agencies involved in the permit review will submit requests for information starting in early February.

The first of two public hearings associated with the permit application will take place Jan 21 in Nucla, Colo. Filas said the hearing is just to take public testimony and no decision will take place immediately following it.

The Sheep Mountain Alliance, an environmental group, continues to pursue legal action seeking to overturn a decision by the Montrose County Commissioners granting Energy Fuels a special use permit for the Pinion Ridge Mill. George Glasier, CEO at Energy Fuels, told FCW through a spokesman that “the firm believes the lawsuit is without merit.” He added, “I am confident the courts will uphold the decision process of the county.”

NRC accepts Powertech’s application for Dewey-Burdock

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has docketed the application by Powertech (TSE:PWE) for the Dewey-Burdock mine in Fall River and Custer counties, South Dakota, and has begun the formal technical review of the application. The NRC set a deadline of March 8th for requests for a public hearing. South Dakota is not an agreement state so applications for new ISR mines go t the Federal government. The notice appeared in the Jan 5, 2010, Federal Register.

The application was originally submitted by Powertech in February 2009, but was pulled to provide the NRC with additional information. It was resubmitted in August 2009.

White Canyon delivers first ore from Daneros to Denison

White Canyon Uranium (ASX:WCU) reported it has delivered the first shipment of ore to Denison Mines’ mill at Blanding, Utah. The Daneros mine is about 60 miles by road from the mill. The mine is the first new uranium operation to start operations in Utah in three decades.

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Friday, January 22, 2010

UK new nuclear build will not get government subsidies

Taxpayers off the hook for cost of new plants

philip-hunt(NucNet) The British government will not use taxpayers’ money to subsidize  the construction of new nuclear power plants, Philip Hunt, (right) minister of state at the Department of Energy and Climate Change said Jan 21.

In an online question and answer session with ‘The Guardian’ newspaper, Lord Hunt said the government had made it “absolutely clear” that the cost of new nuclear power plants must be met in full by the commercial companies themselves, including the cost of decommissioning and waste management.

He said that before the go-ahead is given for new nuclear power plants the government will have to be satisfied that effective arrangements exist to manage and dispose of the waste.

“I can assure you that included in that will be safe, and secure interim storage of radioactive waste on site, followed by disposal in a geological facility,” Lord Hunt said.

Lord Hunt said he expected a large number of companies based in the UK to be involved in the development of new nuclear. “A huge amount of the investment in new nuclear will be spent in the UK and thousands of British workers will benefit from employment opportunities.”

He said the government expects the first new units to be up and running around 2018. “So far companies have said they aspire to up to 16GW, which would provide energy for 16 million homes.”

Lord Hunt said the UK has been “keeping a very close eye on what has been happening in Finland” with construction of the Olkiluoto-3 Areva European pressurised water reactor. That's why the UK plans to ensure the reactor “is licensed before we start building it, rather than trying to license as it is being built.”

In its draft national policy statements the UK has listed 10 sites which it says are potentially suitable for new nuclear power plants.

British Energy Sale No Guarantee Of New Build, Says Report

(NucNet) The British government received a good price when selling its interest in British Energy to EDF, but it is too early to say whether the sale will lead to the construction of new nuclear power plants “from the earliest possible date and with no public subsidy”, according to a report released Jan 22 by the National Audit Office (NAO).

The government watchdog’s report points out that there was no condition on the sale that would ensure the new owners will build the next generation of nuclear plants. Also, if EDF cannot pay for all the clean up costs, the government is still liable.

amyas_morseAmyas Morse, (right) head of the NAO, said the sale of British Energy was designed  to put the responsibility for a new generation of nuclear plants in private hands.

But he said there was no guarantee that government will not have to step in at some point to help pay for the construction and decommissioning costs.

Whether new units are built in the UK with no public subsidy depends on a number of factors, many outside EDF’s control, says the report. These factors include wider economic and market considerations such as the price of carbon; the achievement of all necessary consents, including the design of new power plants; and EDF’s overall strategic priorities and financial position.

Mr Morse said: “The Department of Energy and Climate Change now needs to make real progress on its contingency plans should EDF be unwilling to build new nuclear plants.”

British Energy was the largest independent energy generator in the UK and owner of sites viewed by industry as the most suitable for new nuclear power plants.

The government sold its 36% interest in the company to EDF Energy for 4.4 billion pounds (7.1 billion US dollars, 5 billion euro) in January 2009. The final cash offer from EDF was 10% higher than the valuation by the government agency that managed the sale.

The report says EDF’s acquisition of British Energy has improved the prospect of investment in new nuclear plants because British Energy was not financially strong enough to make such investments itself.

EDF has announced plans to build four new nuclear units on nuclear sites at Sizewell in eastern England and Hinkley Point in the southwest.

The sale has also secured the viability and continued safe operation of British Energy’s existing nuclear power plants, the report says.

The full report is on the NAO website

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Canadian uranium update for 01/21/10

McClean Lake Mill on standby for lack of ore

uranium oreJust before Christmas 140 workers at Areva's McLean Lake uranium mill in Saskatchewan got a holiday greeting they'd been dreading for some time. The firm announced plans to lay off 140 workers in 2010 because of a lack of ore from Cameco's Cigar Lake mine which has flooding problems. Areva employs 270 workers at McClean Lake. Operations at Cigar Lake ceased due to flooding in late 2008.

Alun Richards, a spokesman for Areva, said the mill will wind down its operations by July 2010 processing stockpiled ore with production estimated to be 1.86 million pounds. The mill produced 3.2 million pounds U3O8 in 2008.

Richards said the McClean lake mill is the only facility in Canada that can process high grade ore up to 30% U3O8. He said the same quality of ore will come from Cameco’s Cigar Lake mine assuming it re-starts underground mining operations. He added that market conditions will also be a factor in when the mine and the mill get back in business.

Typically, putting a mill into “care and maintenance” means everyone goes home except a night watchman.  In this case, the company is retaining a third of the workforce and processing ore for the next six months. This looks a lot more like a cost saving measure because the price of uranium is stuck in the $43 range.  According to Ux Consulting, the price published on its web site for Jan 18, 2010, was $43.50 on the spot market.  The same chart shows the price was $54/lb in Nov 2008.

For the same reasons, Areva will take its time pursuing permits for the Midwest and Caribou projects. Richards said Areva is in no hurry to bring these properties into production due to the low price of uranium. "We're not in a rush for them," he said.

Areva has a 37% stake in the Cigar Lake mine and a 70% stake in the mill. Denison Mining owns another 22.5% of the mill. The Cigar Lake mine is expected to take up to a year to be ready to re-start production.

Strateco sets production date for 2013 at Matoush mine in Quebec

Strateco Resources (RCS:TO), which has spent C$55 million so far on its Matousch uranium project in Quebec's Otish Mountains, said it expects to begin production at the underground mine in 2013. Guy Hebert, CEO, said a 2009 NI 43-101 report, the third in a series, indicates the company can expect to product 2 million pounds of uranium a year for at least ten years.

He added that the ore is 18% U3O8 and that achieving a long term objective of producing 60 million pounds is within the company's plans. Herbert said the mine has "one of the highest grades outside of the Athabasca basin."

An environmental impact statement, and license application for the mine were filed with regulatory agencies, including the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), in November 2009. Herbert said the firm will spend another $27 million in 2010 related to development of the mine and clearing regulatory milestones.

The property was first explored by a German firm in 1984 which drilled 20 holes. No production ever took place due to low prices for uranium. Strateco acquired the property in 2006.

The Matoush mine is the only new mine nearing a production date in Quebec. Other new uranium mines in Canada under review at the CNSC include Cameco's Millenium and Areva's Shea Creek mines in Saskatchewan; Arerva's Kiggavik mine in Nunavut; and, Pele Mountain Resources in Labrador.

Key issues for all of these mines are environmental assessments and consultation with aboriginal groups. The major barrier to success will be to overcome political protests to uranium mining.

Abitex advances Otish Mountains mine exploration at two sites

Abitex (ABE:V) CEO Yves Rougeire is a busy guy. He said next month his firm expects to publish an NI 43-101 report on its Lavoie property in the Otish Mountains of Quebec. The company is also completing assay work on its Epsilon property 15 miles away. Both properties are about 50 miles east of Strateco's Matoush mine.

Drillings results in 2009 from the Lavoie property show high grade intercepts at 4.9% U3O8 over 600 meters. The firm is preparing to drill holes over another 1,000 meters to verify historical exploration from 1983. A predecessor to Cogema, now Areva, explored the area, but did not develop it.

Rougeire also said that as much as 20% of the value of the mine may come from other minerals including gold, silver, and lead.

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Small fast reactor to offer 100 MW

It will be factory built with 20-year fuel loads and is based on the historically significant design of EBR-II

ANL-WestAmong the many offerings being developed in the small reactor category, one has a unique legacy. Advanced Reactor Concepts LLC (ARC) is based on technology used over a 30-year period by the EBR-II program at Argonne National Laboratory-West (ANL-W) in Idaho.

The new product now under development in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., is a 100 MW liquid-metal (sodium) cooled fast reactor (large image) that will require refueling once every 20 years. It is remarkable that the technology of EBR-II will live again in this small reactor design. One of the pioneers of that technology, Leon Walters, is now working on the project and is interviewed here.

He told the American Nuclear Society (PDF file) in 2004 that those who built and operated EBR-II have not given up the vision. Walters notes, the design “is proven, it is proliferation-resistant, it decreases waste disposal problems, it’s inherently safe, and perhaps most important of all, Fermi’s original idea—conserving fissionable material—is still sound.”

The ARC reactor system comprises a small uranium-zirconium-fueled nuclear core, submerged in a tank of ambient pressure liquid sodium. The liquid sodium passes through the core where it is heated to 950 degrees Fahrenheit (510 degrees Celsius), it then passes through a heat exchanger where it heats sodium in an intermediate loop, which in turn heats working fluid for energy conversion turbines.

The working fluid can be water that is heated to create steam. Alternatively, the fluid can be carbon dioxide heated to create supercritical (almost liquid) carbon dioxide. The steam, or supercritical carbon dioxide, then spins a turbine to make electricity and is recycled in a closed loop for reheating. According to the company, the supercritical carbon dioxide energy converter system, called the Brayton cycle, provides a thermal efficiency (percentage of heat energy converted to electricity) of 40% or more, significantly higher than the efficiency of conventional steam driven turbine systems.

CEO interviewed

Irfan_Ali_ARC CEO This blog spoke with Irfan Ali, CEO, (left) about the project. While ARC is privately held, he was willing to share some details about the reactor. Ali said the reactor will come in two sizes – 50MW and 100 MW. The 100 MW design will be described in two papers to be presented at the June 2010 meeting of the American Nuclear Society (ANS) to be held in San Diego, CA. The release of the papers at the ANS meeting will also mark the simultaneous commercial roll-out of the company’s marketing efforts.

Ali said the ARC reactor is intended for distributed power applications for remote sites such as mining camps, military bases, other off-the-grid applications, and for water desalinization. Unlike other small reactor designs, it is not expected that customers will bundle them in six packs. Instead, the reactors will be used one-at-a-time with the possibility of a second unit for backup. The small size of the reactor will allow it to be shipped by rail or barge to a customer site.

Plug in-Pull out-Plug-in

flashlight batteriesAccording to the company web site, and the interview with Ali, replacement of the fuel will be simple. The entire fuel assembly comes out like a flashlight battery, or the cartridge from a ball point pen, and a new one pops into place ready for use. This feature is a competitive advantage for the ARC reactor because it addresses issues related to nonproliferation of fissile materials and waste management. Ali added that the design follows that of EBR-II which has been shown to be inherently safe in a series of ground-breaking experiments.

For instance, in response to accident conditions such as loss of coolant flow to the reactor or loss of the ability to reject heat from the reactor system, the reactor safely shuts itself down without human or safety-system intervention, and without sustaining any damage to the core or other components, so that it can be returned to service as soon as the problem has been cleared. These characteristics allow it to be operated with simplified controls.

ANL pioneer advances latest incarnation of EBR-II technology

Leon Walters, now Vice President for Fuel Design at ARC, was Director of Fuels & Materials and also Fuel Design at Argonne West. He led the development of fuels and materials for fast reactors over a 34-year career, concentrating on metal fuel, which is the fuel of choice for the ARC reactor. Its development involved many innovations, which were then proven in irradiation testing of the EBR-II.

Leon_Walters_ANLWIn an exclusive interview with this blog, Walters (right) said that the 20-year fuel cycle of the ARC reactor design is facilitated by a low burn-up rate. He said that the core design has just been completed, but he declined to say much more about the fuel other than it is a uranium-zirconium mix that will be well understood by the NRC. However, getting a U.S. certification will be a challenge, Walters said, because the NRC's Part 52 Standard Review Process is oriented to light water reactors.

The company's technology is now patent pending. Walters said that the firm plans to publish two papers – one on core design and another on fuel – at the June 2010 meeting of the American Nuclear Society to be held in San Diego, CA. He likened the ability to swap out the fuel assembly to "changing the batteries in a flashlight." He says this is a simpler approach than other small faster reactors coming to market though they also promise customers “plug-and-play” designs.

Investor and customers development

ARC Reactor Logo CEO Ali said the company is currently funded privately, and declined to name any of its investors, but it has an impressive management team. The firm was started by Don Wolf, a venture capitalist, and Scott Campbell, (bio) an international energy policy expert, former CEO of an international energy consulting firm, and a former senior U.S. Department of Energy official.

Paul Robinson, the former head of Sandia National Laboratory, is Vice-Chairman of the company's board of directors. CEO Ali has a background in high technology including commercial and defense-related optical telecommunications.

The firm expects to begin preliminary design certification discussions with the NRC in 2010, but the first customers will likely be outside of the U.S. However, the plan is to manufacture the reactor and its fuel elements in the U.S. Ali declined to discuss details of the type of fuel the reactor will use, but did say it will be enriched at 15%. In the interview with Walters, he said the fuel will be available to meet customer specifications at multiple levels of enrichment with 15% being an average figure.

As far as the market for distributed power is concerned, Ali said the market for small reactors is very segmented and there are opportunities for small reactors to meet customer requirements for distributed power. Ali says he knows there are many challenges ahead to get his product to market. For the next year the company is focused on raising money through private sources and developing the technology. He promised to keep readers of this blog appraised of how things are going.

Advanced Reactor conceptual design

Adv Reactor Design conceptual drawing

MOX & commercial nuclear updates from Japan

Two reactors start using it.

With these reports Idaho Samizdat is pleased to announce the start of posting selected dispatches via NucNet from the World Nuclear Organization.

mox fuel(NucNet) (Jan 18) The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) has given permission for the Tohoku Electric Power Company to use uranium-plutonium mixed oxide (MOX) fuel at Onagawa-3.

The government approval, issued on 8 January 2010, means that up to 228 fuel assemblies at Onagawa-3 will be replaced with MOX fuel assemblies, out of a total of 560.

Onagawa-3, a 796-megawatt unit in Miyagi prefecture on Japan’s eastern coast, is the tenth domestic reactor and the sixth boiling water reactor in Japan to gain approval from the Japanese government for operation with MOX fuel.

Having entered commercial operation in January 2002, Onagawa-3 is also the newest of the 10.

Japan’s Ikata-3 Set To Begin Operation With MOX Fuel

The Ikata-3 pressurized water reactor (PWR) unit in Japan is expected to begin operating next month with mixed uranium-plutonium oxide (MOX) fuel.

The Shikoku Electric Power Company, which operates the three-unit Ikata plant, said unit-3 had been shut down for a periodic inspection on 7 January 2010 and during the outage 50 of the total of 157 fuel assemblies will be replaced with new ones, some of which will be MOX fuel.

The MOX fuel assemblies arrived in Japan from France’s Areva in May 2009.
The fuel was fabricated at the Melox plant in southern France. The process involved recycling plutonium from the treatment of Shikoku’s spent fuel at France’s La Hague plant.

Tomari-3 begin revenue service

The Tomari-3 nuclear reactor unit in Japan has begun commercial operation, making it the country’s 54th commercial nuclear unit.

The 866-megawatt pressurized water reactor began commercial operation at 16:05 local time on 22 December 2009, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) said.

The unit, owned and operated by the Hokkaido Electric Power Company, is some 60 kilometers west of Sapporo on the northern island of Hokkaido.

Tomari’s three units are expected to account for about 40 percent of the company’s total generated electricity, JAIF said.

Kashiwazaki-Kariwa Unit 7 Back In Commercial Operation After Quake

Unit 7 of Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, which was hit by an earthquake in July 2007, has resumed commercial operation.

The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) confirmed the unit has been back in commercial service since 28 December 2009.

In May 2009, Kashiwazaki-Kariwa-7 was temporarily connected to the grid for the first time since the earthquake. In July 2009, procedures began for unit 7 to return to commercial operation following the approval of Japan’s government, the country’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency and the heads of local government in three neighboring areas.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Next generation nuclear leadership

The people who will manage and operate the reactors of the nuclear renaissance are all under 40.

Executive leadershipWhat are the qualities necessary for the next generation of leadership to run the nuclear reactors that are now on the drawing boards of the world’s commercial electric utilities?

By 2012-2015, many of the reactors that are planned to be built, especially those outside of China, will be ready or approaching readiness to break ground.

In the U.S. there are 18 license applications pending for 27 reactors at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Of that number, 13 are making progress in their reviews. Nine of the utilities have ordered long-lead nuclear components from three reactor vendors. Four utilities have signed engineering procurement contracts.

Assuming it takes four-to-six years to build them, these nuclear reactors will enter revenue service in the period 2016-2021. They will have service lives of up to 60 years.

Who will manage them? A nuclear power plant with a service life of 60 years will be a multi-generational project. What kinds of leadership will these plants need and can the commercial utilities that plan to run them get it?

In this blog post I am asking readers two questions. First, what are the leadership qualities needed to run the reactors of the nuclear renaissance? Second, who are the leading under-40 managers who will likely move into executive positions in the next five-to-ten years?

Leadership criteria

leadership starThe list of qualities that make a good leader could fill any number of books to be published by any of the leading schools of management thinking. This is a short list.

  1. Results - Management and completion of one or more major projects recognized in the industry as "best in breed." Another way to look a this, especially for someone under age 40, is being a significant contributor to project success as recognized by a third party organization outside the person’s place of employment.
  2. Ideas- Impact on the industry resulting from "big hairy audacious ideas." This is a test of vision and the ability to produce concrete results. There are two tests here. One is for people who have shaped the industry by implementing their vision and one for people who have the potential to shape the industry because of the power of their as yet untested ideas. This inquiry is more focused on the second group, but does not exclude the first.
  3. Quality - Impact on the person's organization (business, government agency, academia, etc.) which serves as a beacon and example to others. Mere growth in sales, or by acquisition, is not sufficient. The impact must be a qualitative improvement in performance. For instance, is the organization rated by credible parties as a "best place to work," etc. Customer satisfaction is hard to measure externally, but ratings by industry organizations can act as surrogate measures. Readers may provide their own tests of excellence.
  4. Character - Quality of response to an unexpected challenge to the person's organization from discontinuous events, e.g., natural disaster, economic or political change, court rulings or regulatory changes, etc. What did the person do in response to adversity? Success is not necessary. This category can also include responses to ethical challenges on-or-off the job.
  5. Mentor - Demonstrated ability to serve as a mentor to new hires, especially young people with degrees in relevant engineering, science, and business disciplines entering the industry for the first time.

Readers are also invited to submit ideas for criteria for evaluating leadership in the nuclear energy industry. Please use the comment form.

Readers’ Choice - Nominations are open

Nomination This is an open-ended poll. You can post a 250 word nomination, as a comment, for an up-and-coming under age 40 nuclear manager, engineer, or individual contributor.

This is a global issue so the scope of the questions is at an international scale.

You may post as many nominations as you like, but you cannot nominate someone more than once. All comments must be in English. Please identify the person and address the criteria in this blog post. Also, and this is very important, check with the person you are nominating to get their consent to post information about them as a comment on this blog.

Nominations cannot be anonymous. You must include a link in your nomination to an email address, blogger profile, or OPEN ID. Don’t have one. Get one for free. The dialog box for submitting a comment will offer you several choices for authenticating your online persona.

In the end, some of the choices will go on to well earned fame and fortune which will polish your prognostications until they shine like the noonday sun.


This poll on up-and-coming leadership in the global nuclear energy industry is independent of any professional society or nuclear industry trade publication. It is not intended to be an influence on any other industry awards, honors, or forms of recognition for excellence. There is no prize for being nominated except for the esteem of your peers.

The nominations poll will stay open until March 1st. I will capture the comments and reformat them as a future blog post.

I look forward to hearing from you.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Nuclear reactor scorecard

Best prospects for actually building one

baseball_scoreboardLike the barker at a baseball game, you cannot tell the players without a program. The Department of Energy (DOE) and the American Nuclear Society (ANS) periodically publish updates on the status of new nuclear builds in the U.S.

At DOE a quarterly report mines information from agency files and the licensing status reports of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The ANS data is published for members in ‘Renaissance Watch” in “Nuclear News.”

The question for the job seeker is which of the nearly 20 projects has the best prospects for actually moving forward to construction? The list can be boiled down to choices in three broad categories. They are, in baseball terms (1) ducks on the pond, (2) close but no cigar, and (3) sent down to the minors.

coolhandnuke A job hunter looking for the satisfaction of working on a nuclear reactor that will get built should consider this list when deciding how to respond to recruitment notices. Keep in mind that experience at one site can position you for work at new reactor projects later in your career. Good luck and good hunting.

Full details of an up-to-date scorecard are reported exclusively at CoolHandNuke. A nuclear energy jobs portal and a whole lot more.

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After Copenhagen: What Was Achieved?

Two experts on climate to talk about it in free, online webcast

Free Live Webcast January 26, 1 PM EST / 10 AM PST
Registration sign-up here

EnergyCollectiveLogoThe UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, or Cop15, took place in Copenhagen December 2009 with the goal of establishing a new climate treaty to replace the Kyoto accords, due to expire in 2012.

There were very high expectations by some for the first climate convention since President Obama has taken office and the first since China attained its status as a global superpower. The conference put additional pressure on world leaders and policy-makers to create a lasting and workable road map to reduce emissions and promote sustainability.

As things turned out the Copenhagen meeting should only be viewed as a starting point for global action. While the world had hope for real progress and actionable goals, did they get it?

With this question in mind, The Energy Collective (TEC), with its sponsor, Siemens, would like to invite you to join its panel for a free, online webcast that breaks down what was achieved, and what got left undone in Copenhagen this year.

TEC is hosting an interactive, virtual summit to take place January 26. The summit will be moderated by Marc Gunther, veteran journalist, speaker, writer and consultant whose focus is business and sustainability. Marc is a contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, and a lead blogger at The Energy Collective.

In addition to your questions, TEC will examine the events of Cop15 from a number of angles, including:

  • Was progress made on on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) and adaptation aid to developing countries?
  • What about international technology cooperation and transfers?
  • What will the new agreements mean for high-emitting industries and companies? Those based in the developed world? Developing world? What about implications for other companies?
  • Going forward, will the G-20 and other smaller groups have more power than the UNFCCC in shape global climate agreements? Arguably, focused attention by just the main emitters makes more sense and would be more effective.
  • How will any Copenhagen agreements be enforced?


Marc Gunther is a veteran journalist, speaker, writer and consultant whose focus is business and sustainability. Marc is a contributing editor at FORTUNE magazine, a senior writer at, and a lead blogger at The Energy Collective.

He's also a husband and father, a lover of the outdoors and a marathon runner. Marc is the author or co-author of four books, including Faith and Fortune: How Compassionate Capitalism is Transforming American Business. He's a graduate of Yale who lives in Bethesda, MD.

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Robert N. Stavins is the Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School, and his roles include: Director of the Harvard Environmental Economics Program, Chairman of the Environment and Natural Resources Faculty Group, and Director of the Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements.

Professor Stavins' research has focused on diverse areas of environmental economics and policy, including examinations of: market-based policy instruments; regulatory impact analysis; innovation and diffusion of pollution-control technologies; competitiveness effects of regulation; depletion of forested wetlands; political economy of policy instrument choice; and costs of carbon sequestration. Prior to Harvard, Stavins was a staff economist at the Environmental Defense Fund.

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Aimée Christensen leads Christensen Global Strategies, advising corporate, philanthropic, governmental, multilateral, and non-profit clients seeking to address the global challenges of climate change, ecosystem degradation, and resource scarcity. Her clients have included the Clinton Global Initiative, The Elders, Swiss Re, the United Nations Development Program, Virgin United, and Wolfensohn + Co. Previously, Aimée worked with, the philanthropic arm of Google, as well as the Legal Department of the World Bank and the International Centre for Trade & Sustainable Development. Among other groups, she is a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council on Renewable Energy.

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Dirk Forrister is Managing Director at Natsource LLC, responsible for new carbon fund development. Until recently, he worked in the company's London office, where he was responsible for building the company's carbon finance business in Europe. He managed the development and launch of the Greenhouse Gas Credit Aggregation Pool, which grew to over $800 million in corporate commitments. Prior to joining Natsource, Forrister served as Chairman of the White House Climate Change Task Force in the Clinton Administration, and prior to that was Assistant US Secretary of Energy for Congressional & Public Affairs. He has also held positions as Energy Program Manager at Environmental Defense Fund and as legislative counsel to Congressman Jim Cooper, the author of two early climate change laws.

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