Saturday, July 24, 2010

Western Lands Uranium Gopher for July 24, 2010

Miners develop properties despite low stock prices

gopherThis blog post is an edited version of a column published in Fuel Cycle Week, V9:N385, July 15, 2010, by International Nuclear Associates, Washington, DC.

Western U.S. uranium miners, like their Canadian cousins to the North, have seen their stock prices drop like rocks down a mineshaft over the past five months. Yet, despite significant losses in market capitalization, all of the firms in FCW's anecdotal listing of uranium firms doing business in the western U.S. shows increasing investment in new mining projects.

Stock prices have dropped for all eight firms in our list (see table) and four of them saw declines in their stock prices of more than 20% between Feb 5, the date of our last published stock table for these firms, and market close Jul 9. Of the eight firms, two managed to hold on to stockholder value relative to the other six.

Energy Fuels (TSE:EFR), which is developing the Pinion Ridge mill in Montrose County, Colo., a 500 ton/day facility, dropped just $0.07/share since February. More significantly, the firm announced July 7 a $3 million private placement which will fund its permitting activities through 2011. The deal gives the investor, Dundee Corp, a 19.8% equity position in the firm.

Ur-Energy (AMEX:URG), which is developing the Lost Creek ISR mine in Wyoming, held on the line on stockholder value with a price that dipped just $0.01/share over the five month period. Also, the firm, inked a deal for $5 million with Blackrock, Inc. for a 15.34% equity stake in the firm.

Demand for uranium expected to increase

The common factor for both firms is that they have major, near-term milestones ahead of them to develop their respective properties. Like other firms on the list, they see demand for uranium rising over the next few years as possibly as many as four new uranium enrichment plants begin operations in the U.S. Also, loan guarantees for as many as seven new reactors will be out the door by the end of 2010.

The U.S. Department of Energy inked a deal for a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee with Areva for the Eagle Rock Enrichment Plant in Idaho. USEC told FCW earlier this spring the firm plans to resubmit its application for a loan guarantee for the American Centrifuge Facility the firm is building in Ohio.

The most significant development is that Urenco began production in June at its plant in New Mexico. At the other end of the spectrum, industry experts say a long shot development is GE-Hitachi’s new laser enrichment process which the company says has completed test loop work.

Energy Fuels new mill

Gary Steele, VP for Investor Relations at Energy Fuels, told FCW the permit for the Colorado hard rock mining mill is expected in January 2011. Even now the hunt is on for the expected $150 million which one industry expert says will be needed to build the mill to process output from area mines.

Steele told FCW the firm hopes to find a strategic partner who will, as part of the deal, have a preferred position for supply of uranium from the mill.

"The attractiveness of the deal is to lock in supply, " Steele said.

Is the money out there? Steel says if the capital becomes available after the mill gets its license, the plant could be built in 10-12 months and delivering product by 2Q2012.

As far as Dundee Corp is concerned, Steel is delighted with their role.

"Dundee stepped up its investment in the company," Steele said. "They are a solid partner."

Toronto-based Dundee Corp is an asset management company dedicated to private wealth management and investment in real estate and mineral resources. As of June 2010 it reports having $65 billion under management.

Ur-Energy

Rich Boberg, Director of PR at Ur-Energy (AMEX:URG), told FCW the company is on track to receive its permit this summer from the NRC for the Lost Creek mine in Sweetwater County, Wyo. The company received its underground injection control permit from the State of Wyoming in June.

Once the firm has its NRC license, Boberg told FCW it will take the firm about six months to build the mine. He said the company has the funds from the new investment to achieve production in 2011 of 1 million pounds a year.

"We will have another 1 million pounds of capacity at that facility, Boberg said. "It can be used for toll mining or eventually for our other Wyoming properties."

Bayswater looks ahead for Reno Creek

In April 2010 Bayswater (CVE:BYU) bought the Reno Creek property from Strathmore (CVE:STM) in a $20 million deal ($17.5M cash, $2.5M stock). It financed the acquisition with $20 million from Pacific Road Resources Funds (PRRF), an Australian private equity investor. Reno Creek was acquired by a newly created private company which is jointly owned by PRRF (72%) and Bayswater (28%).

According to a statement from Bayswater, the Reno Creek ISR site holds 15.6 million pounds of U3O8 of NI 43-101 compliant resources. As part of the deal with PRRF, Bayswater has the right to increase its holding to 50% by contributing further funding to develop the mine. Production is expected by 2015.

Uranium Energy Corp sees production starting in December

Uranium Energy Corp (AMEX:UEC) has started on well field development of its Palangana, Tex., ISR mine, which it acquired from a subsidiary of Uranium One last December. Construction is expected to be complete by September.

COO Harry Anthony told FCW in an interview earlier this year production could being by 4Q2010. The firm raised cash to pay for development of this property and general purposes when it sold its interest in the Ceboletta uranium project in New Mexico last April for $11 million.

Green groups won't take "no" for answer

Last month environmental groups concerned about the impact of uranium mining on the Grand Canyon had a significant setback to their cause. A federal district court judge denied their petition for a preliminary injunction to stop operations at Denison's (AMEX:DNN) Arizona 1 mine year Fredonia. The court ruled June 17 the main petition would not succeed in its merits.

The Center for Biological Diversity isn't taking "no" for an answer. On July 12 the group filed an appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. It continues to argue that Denison used outdated mining plans to restart operations and that the Bureau of Land Management erred in accepting them without requiring an updated environmental assessment.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

UK nuclear hits the brakes over low carbon taxes and lack of loan guarantees

Coalition government’s anti-nuclear energy minister leads the “no subsidies” chorus

hit the brakesA study prepared by KPMG and published July 17 by RWE Power, which wants to build new nuclear reactors in the UK, says forget about it unless the “carbon floor price” is raised to [L]80/ton CO2. Britain's new generation of nuclear power stations will not be built if the Government refuses to support them beyond the current insufficient carbon price mechanisms, the KPMG report said.

The KPMG report called for early decisions to radically change the UK electricity market to get nuclear energy back in the game. It said that measures to bring investors to the table must do more than just raise the carbon tax. While the report only alludes to the concept of loan guarantees, it seems to offer the government a way out of its hard line position of no direct subsidies for new nuclear plants.

Huhne’s line in the sand

The current coalition government has drawn a line in the sand saying no government direct subsidies will be provided for new reactors. Yet, loan guarantees, which pay for themselves through the equivalent of insurance premiums, have not been aired in the public debate about the future of nuclear energy in the UK.

Instead, the coalition government, led by energy minister Chris Huhne, (right) has chanted a mantra of “no subsidies” while simultaneously dismantling the infrastructure planning mechanisms that drove the development of new reactors under the previous Labour government.

Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE, told Der Spiegel, one of Germany’s major newspapers, on July 21 that the appointment of Huhne is “a political catastrophe.” Ian Parret, an energy analyst at UK consultancy Inenco, agreed telling the newspaper the Liberals won the election with an anti-nuclear plank in their political platform, and “they are setting the tone for policy decisions.” (See update below. The company PR chief disputes that Beckers said it.)

On July 15 Huhne announced that the government would initiate a six-month long review of all nuclear energy infrastructure planning documents. The announcement came as an unpleasant surprise to the utilities which had participated in the development of the policy framework under the Labour government. It resulted in the selection of 10 sites for new reactors. No it appears the review could completely unravel the hard won agreement on where to build new reactors. The sites were chosen in part for proximity to existing reactors and the layout of the nation’s electric grid.

Energy investment subsidies for renewables

money_on_tableThis isn’t the first time the utility CEO has sounded off about the new uncertainty coming from the coalition government over nuclear energy. On July 10 Beckers, told the Sunday Telegraph that nuclear deserves the same government support and solar, wind, and tidal power projects. Electricity from these projects costs as much as $0.25/kWHr and is unsustainable even in the UK’s fearsomely expensive electricity markets. Beckers called wind power “hugely expensive” even though his utility is in the business.

He said that because of the current situation, “investments go only to gas-fired power stations or the renewable sector.”

“Only if you have a level playing field do you leave it with market powers to make the right investment decision. If you have a stimulus for certain technologies, all the investments go into one specific technology and that could ultimately lead to cluster risk.”

World Nuclear News reported July 19 that massive nuclear energy investments will be needed in the UK for the country to meet its ambitious emission reduction targets.

"The current approach to low carbon generation relies on government interventions which are inconsistent with one another," the [KPMG] report says. "The creation of a more consistent market design to reward low carbon energy or capacity could enable investment in new nuclear generation - and other low carbon investment - to proceed. The key issue is whether there should be a single market for all low carbon electricity or multiple markets for different technologies."

Several UK nuclear industry trade associations have made similar statements. They point out that in the next decade the nation will need 30 GWe of law carbon electricity generation which experts estimate will require [L]200 billion. The size of the current nuclear new build is about 15-18 GWe assuming all ten sites now on the short list build out to their full capacity.

Are loan guarantees possible in the UK?

Instead of drawing a line in the sand, Huhne seems to be hiding from energy market realities by sticking his head in it. Der Spiegel also quoted Chatham House energy expert Walt Patterson who said a the government actually has a range of options, presumably including loan guarantees, which are not direct subsidies to the nuclear industry. However, the problem is Huhne is a “true believer” when it comes to his opposition to nuclear energy. “He seems quite convinced,” Patterson said.

prudent investorThe KPMG study seems to be pointing to loan guarantees even if it doesn’t cal them out by name. It said the rapid expansion of the nuclear power sector in the UK, requires the commitment of investors to pay for the new build. This in turn requires significant changes to policy, market mechanisms, and the regulatory framework to make nuclear energy attractive.

The UK could take a page from President Obama’s playbook. He is supporting new nuclear power plants, and the thousands of jobs their construction will create, with billions in loan guarantees which do not involve government spending. The next stop for KPMG and RWE’s CEO ought to be U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a heart-to-heart talk about it.

UK Reactor site lineup

Here’s what’s at stake for the UK new nuclear build. In March 2010 the first two reactor sites were selected for development. Horizon Energy, a consortium of European utilities RWE and E.ON, will build 3,600 MW at Wylfa Wales and another 1,600-2,400 MW at Oldbury in Gloucestershire. Reactor vendors Areva and Westinghouse are in competition to supply equipment for these sites.

Next up British Energy and Electricie de France are proposing to build 3,300 MW of nuclear powered generation capacity at Hinkley Point in Somerset and at Sizewell in Suffolk. All four reactors will be Areva EPRs at 1,650 MW each.

Finally, a consortium composed of Spanish utility Iberdrola, Franch construction giant GDF Suez, and U.K. utility Scottish & Southern has plans for 3,600 MW using an as yet unspecified reactor design at Sellafield in Cumbria.

The key to site selection is access to existing grid connections to bring electricity to customers. See graphic below.

Update: What did RWE's CEO Beckers really say about Chris Huhne?

This blog received the following comment via email on July 24.

"You have incorrectly attributed a statement regarding the appointment of Chris Huhne to Volker Beckers, CEO of RWE npower. The words are in fact from the Der Spiegel journalist Carsten Volkery"

Richard Frost, Head of Public Relations RWE npower

The actual text in the Der Spiegel article does not attribute that statement directly to Beckers.

"For Beckers and his colleagues at the "Big Six," the other major energy utilities in Britain, Huhne's appointment is nothing short of a political catastrophe."

Yes, it is, even as it turns out, he apparently didn't say the actual words.



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Political uproar in UK over Sheffield Forgemasters’ loan

Sheffield forgemastersFinancial Times reports PM David Cameron and Deputy Nick Clegg wrongly accused firm’s directors of being unwilling to raise capital for the firm.

Big donor to Conservative Party, who owns a competing steel mill, is revealed to have written a letter to Cameron calling for end to the loan.

The now cancelled [L]80 million loan that the UK government decided not to issue to Sheffied Forgemasters for a nuclear pressure vessel manufacturing center was a victim of political lobbying by a competitor steel mill. The Financial Times reports in a series of articles that Andrew Cook, a major donor to the Conservative Party, wrote a letter to the government that the loan was “unnecessary and illegal.”

Also, the Financial Times reports that Prime Minister David Cameron misled parliament saying that the major shareholders of Forgemasters killed the loan themselves by refusing to issue shares that would dilute their holdings. Correspondence between the government and the company, reported by the Financial Times, shows that the opposite was true.

Government knew Forgemasters was willing to issue new stock

The government had made the case for cancelling the strategic investment that it was not an affordable loan, but later added the now false statement that the firm’s major stockholders were unwilling to see it issue new shares to fund development of the manufacturing center.

However, the Financial Times reported July 19 that Forgemasters CEO Graham Honeyman wrote a letter to Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister, that he was willing to dilute his holdings to raise the cash. The newspaper further revealed that Clegg acknowledged receiving the letter and writing one back to Honeyman that he understood the firm’s position. Clegg also said he was not changing the government’s decision to cancel the loan.

Rival steel company complained about loan

The Financial Times reported July 22 that documents it now has reveal a Conservative Party donor lobbied the highest levels of the UK government to cancel the Sheffied Forgemasters loan. The newspaper revealed that Andrew Cook, who has paid for airline travel for now PM David Cameron when he was a candidate, wrote a letter in which he threatened to withhold future campaign contributions unless the government shelved the Sheffield project.

The newpaper reported that Cook donated [L]500,000 to the Conservative Party and [L]54,000 in airline travel to Cameron. Cook’s company produces casting for the oil and gas industry among other products, but does not list any work on its web site for nuclear energy utilities.

Government denies allegations

The BBC reported July 22 that the government has denied that Cameron made the decision to cancel the loan based on the letter from Cook. However, Labour members of parliament plan to schedule a special debate to determine whether the PM mis-led them on the issue.

Energy Secretary Chris Huhne has come under withering criticism that he allowed his anti-nuclear views to influence the government’s decision. The BBC reported that Huhne has stuck by the Liberal line that the loan is “unaffordable,” but he has not yet commented on the latest allegations that the PM of the coalition government was less than forthcoming about the reasons for the decision to cancel the loan.

If the loan had gone through, it would have positioned the UK to compete head-to-head with Japan Steel Works in the manufacturing of reactor pressure vessels. The UK plans to build new reactors at 10 sites to prevent expected brownouts in the next decade as the original fleet of plants, built in the 50s and 60s, reaches the end of their service life. Failure to proceed with the loan will delay construction of nuclear power stations in the UK.

Prior coverage on this blog

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bob Herbert’s hatchet job at the New York Times

Columns printed on the opinion page are just that and not facts

hatchetNew York Times columnist Bob Herbert did more than peddle fear, uncertainty, and doubt about nuclear energy in his column published July 19 on the newspaper’s OP ED page. In a piece which overflows with florid language, Herbert bought into the anti-nuclear program of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) hook, line, and sinker.

It’s too bad he didn’t talk to anyone from the nuclear industry before he hit the keyboard. Maybe if he’d done some independent thinking, or just considered other points of view, the column would have turned over to be different.

The Nuclear Energy Institute posting on its blog Neinuclearnotes July 20 called Herbert’s article a “hatchet job,” and I agree. As for the florid language, consider these examples - “erupting,” “hair stand on end,” “horrific,” and labeling Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) “a certifiable nuke zealot.” This is clearly unbalanced rhetoric more suited to Fox News.

U.S. senators are not zealots

lamar_alexanderSen. Alexander (right) called for construction of 100 new nuclear power plants in a bipartisan statement at the ANS winter meeting last November with Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA). This isn’t the action of a zealot. Certainly, Sen. Webb, a former naval officer and Sec. of the Navy, wouldn’t show up for a press conference with a “zealot.” Herbert is way off the mark with that comment.

A good example of the kind of political rhetoric offered in Herbert’s column, and its purpose, comes from the career of the late Rep. George Smathers. His first defeat in politics in a rural Florida district came at the hands of a handbill that said he had a sister who was a “practicing thespian” in New York. Well, she was an accomplished actress, but that’s not the message the voters took away from the flyer. It was a successful smear campaign and Herbert’s column is no better.

Nuclear waste

Herbert also got his facts wrong which calls into question how much review he gets from the Times editors. He says, “No one knows what to do with nuclear waste.” The reason this statement is wrong is that there are plenty of technical solutions. The Obama administration has allowed the issue to be kicked around like a soccer ball at a World Cup match thanks to the re-election jitters of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)

Davis Besse

nrc sealAs for Davis Besse, the problem was caught and corrected. The system worked. Mr. Herbert never once mentions the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) in his column. He seems to think the nation’s 104 nuclear power stations operate freely without government oversight. What else would account for this omission?

For readers with an interest in the facts, the NRC maintains this web page on the Davis Besse reactor head degradation and its responses and orders to the utility.

Davis-Besse’s next planned outage is scheduled for fall of 2011 to install a new reactor head with nozzles made of materials less susceptible to primary stress corrosion cracking. The new head has been manufactured in France by AREVA and is expected to arrive at Davis-Besse in fall of 2010 where it will undergo a series of pre-service inspections.

Leaning on UCS for ideas

Herbert also tars with a wide brush picking up the anti-nuclear community’s line that the BP gulf oil spill is as harbinger of accidents waiting to happen with nuclear power plants.

david_lochbaum UCSHerbert got help with his opinion piece from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). David Lochbaum, (right) head of the group’s nuclear safety project, told Herbert that “since 1979 there have been 47 instances of plants shut down for more than a year for safety reasons.”

Unfortunately, for NYT readers, neither Herbert nor Lochbaum cite the source of that statistic. It is a difficult metric to evaluate because it depends on what interpretation UCS gave to trhe combination of NRC orders and to self-initiated actions by utilities based on their own operational procedures.

To put this statistic in perspective, I can say with certainty that every car my family ever owned since 1979 has been in the shop at least 47 times, and for at least 24 hours, due to maintenance issues or for repair of safety-related equipment. Of course, some of these “issues” include preventative measures such as oil/lube, tune ups, brakes, mufflers, and the occasional headlight. There were also instances where my car lost a master cylinder, dropped a drive shaft, and blew a tire. Get it? Got it? Good!

Oh come off it

In an email to me of May 25, Elliot Negin, Media Director of UCS, denied that his organization is “anti-nuclear.” He objected to that characterization in my blog post titled “Mountains into molehills.”

Mr. Negin wrote, “We are not anti-nuclear. We are agnostic. The best way to characterize us is as a nuclear industry watchdog.”

umpire1 When I asked a group of senior nuclear energy industry experts about this statement, I was greeted with hoots of laughter. Mr. Negin’s statement was dismissed out of hand with comments starting at “disingenuous” and moving to much more caustic characterizations.

To say that UCS can credibly maintain it is not “anti-nuclear” is to suggest Mr. Herbert plans to sell his readers shares in the Brooklyn Bridge.

Herbert also borrowed from the UCS the idea that terrorists plan to attack a nuclear power plant. This argument was raised in the relicensing of the Oyster Creek plant. The NRC and the Federal District Court in New Jersey rejected it as not credible. The plant’s license was renewed for another 20 years in April 2009.

So it comes as no surprise that Herbert’s acceptance of the UCS line on nuclear energy is just so much hot air. What is a surprise is that the New York Times editors seem to have given Mr. Herbert a pass on this column. I do not.

Corrections

  • Senator Webb served as a officer in the U.S. Marine Corps in Vietnam. See his Senate bio for details.

  • The story about Sen. Smathers is in dispute. It makes a good point, but may not be grounded in actual history. I reported it here the way I heard him tell it in person in Washington, DC, in the early 1980s.

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Nuclear News Roundup for July 21, 2010

Go-Ahead Given For New China Unit

chinese-dragon-mosaic19 July (NucNet): China Guangdong Nuclear Power Company (CGNPC) has received central government approval to build two nuclear reactor units in the southern province of Guangxi.

The first-phase of development at Fangchenggang will cost 24 billion yuan (about 3.5 billion US dollars, 2.7 billion euro) and comprise two domestically developed CPR-1000 units with capacities of 1,080 megawatts each, according to a statement published today.

Construction of the two units at Fangchenggang will start by the end of this month and be completed by 2016, according to the statement.

China wants 15 percent of its energy demand to come from clean sources by 2020 to reduce emissions and reliance on coal and oil.

According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, China has 11 nuclear units in commercial operation and 24 under construction.

Last week CGNPC announced that the first unit of the Ling Ao II nuclear power plant was connected to the grid on 15 July and has begun trial operation.

The unit, 1,080-megawatt CPR-1000, achieved first criticality on 9 June. Commercial operation is expected to begin in October, when it would become China’s twelfth commercially operational nuclear unit.

New Japan Report Highlights ‘Competitive’ FBR Development Costs

high energy20 Jun (NucNet): The cost of implementing fast breeder reactor (FBR) technology for commercial use is “competitive” when considering factors such as high thermal efficiency, according to a new report by the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA).

JAEA considered costs and related issues in a progress report on the country’s fast reactor cycle technology development program, the Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) reported.

In terms of economic competitiveness, FBR fuel cycle technology was considered “somewhat more expensive than future light water reactor technology”, with estimated construction costs for two units in the region of 780 billion Japanese yen (about 9 billion US dollars; 7 billion euro), and a construction period of about 37 to 40 months.

However, JAEA still sees FBR development as competitive when taking into account factors such as high thermal efficiency and the use of high burn-up fuel, JAIF said.

According to JAIF, the progress report has been sent to the Japan Atomic Energy Commission as the country works towards “full commercialization” of fast reactor and related fuel cycle technology within about the next 40 years.

A detailed report in English is available in the ‘Atoms in Japan’ section of JAIF’s website ( http://www.jaif.or.jp/english ).

Former Chief US Regulator Joins Utility Board

20 Jun (NucNet): A former US Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) chairman, Dale Klein, has joined the board of directors of the Southern Company.

Southern announced Mr Klein’s election to its board June 19. Mr Klein, 62, is currently the associate vice-president of research and associate director of the Energy Institute at The University of Texas in Austin.

Mr Klein served as chairman of the NRC from July 2006 to May 2009 and as a commissioner until March 2010. He also serves on the boards of Pinnacle West Capital Corporation and its primary subsidiary, Arizona Public Service Company.

Earlier this year, Southern agreed the terms for conditional loan guarantees from the federal government to break ground on the first new nuclear plant in the country in more than three decades. Two new Westinghouse AP1000 units are set to be built at the existing Vogtle nuclear plant, where the company already owns and operates two nuclear units.

The conditional loan guarantees become final when the Vogtle project receives its combined construction and operating license, which is scheduled to be issued by the NRC in late 2011.

Companies Team Up For Potential Nuclear Projects In Saudi Arabia

12 Jul (NucNet): Three companies have announced a “teaming agreement” to pursue potential nuclear power plant projects in Saudi Arabia.

The Shaw Group and Exelon Nuclear of the US, with Japan’s Toshiba Corporation, said today their joint approach would offer services to design, engineer, build and operate new nuclear plants.

Under the terms of the agreement, the group would pursue projects using Toshiba’s Advanced Boiling Water Reactor (ABWR) design, Shaw said. The group is also capable of using Westinghouse’s AP1000 technology, Shaw said. Westinghouse is a Toshiba group company.

Shaw said in a statement: “Shaw, Toshiba and Westinghouse are working with customers to build four nuclear units in China and six new nuclear units in the US... the addition of Exelon creates a team that is unmatched in its ability to offer a portfolio of technology, construction and operations in Saudi Arabia.”

Shaw said the Saudi government had recently confirmed its commitment to the research and funding of commercial nuclear power.

However, Shaw pointed out that for any US company to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with Saudi Arabia, the US and Saudi governments must negotiate a framework agreement under the US Atomic Energy Act.

Toshiba’s involvement in the project will also be subject to the conclusion of an agreement for civilian nuclear cooperation between the Japanese and Saudi governments, Shaw said.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Nuclear supply chain spools up

Global sourcing meets demand for new reactor projects

Creusot forge visuel-principal-sfarsteel-651It is one thing to say you are going to build a new 1,000 MW nuclear reactor.  It is entirely another to get the parts for one. For starters there is the reactor vessel itself which can only come from one place – Japan Steel Works. Want one? Get line because there is a backlog that puts a new order placed today on schedule for delivery in 2013 or later.

That may change as large forges are developed in South Korea, India, and the U.K. If you select an Areva reactor, your pressure vessel will come from the Creusot Forge in France.

There are no plans in the U.S. to develop a large forge capable of handling the 400 ton plus pressure vessels, but there are efforts underway to make everything else. Areva and Northrop Grumman are build a $300 million factory in Newport News, VA. The Shaw Group is building a similar scale facility in Lake Charles, LA.

GE-Hitachi's launch with its Indian partners is expected to supply components that will be used to build the reactors the company hopes to sell to the Nuclear Power Corporation India Ltd. (NPCIL), a public sector enterprise under India's Department of Atomic Energy. Taking advantage of India's lower labor costs, the consortium hopes to gain market share with exports to global markets.

Read the rest of the story exclusively at CookHandNuke, a nuclear energy jobs portal and a whole lot more.

coolhandnuke

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Monday, July 19, 2010

B&W and Bechtel launch SMR alliance

Are small reactors game changers for the nuclear industry?

mPower_containment_building_smTwo leading energy companies announced July 14 they plan to jointly build and sell 125MW small light water reactors as turn-key projects to U.S. utilities and for export. Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) and Bechtel Power have entered into a formal alliance to build small modular reactors (SMR). Customers can add modules to match growth in electricity demand.

Jack Futcher, president of Bechtel Power, which has a 20% stake in the alliance, said, ""Nuclear energy is a viable source of energy. SMRs are affordable and scalable. It has a potential to be a real game changer."

The alliance joins the design and fabrication capabilities of B&W with the engineering, procurement, and construction expertise of Bechtel Power. The development takes the potential for commercial deployment of a small reactor closer to reality.

It puts the B&W 'Generation mPower" SMR out in front of the competition from other firms like NuScale and Hyperion. The first unit built for a customer could enter revenue service as soon as 2020.

Read all about it exclusively at the Energy Collective.

energycollective_logo

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