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Friday
Jun132008

Your opportunity to store nuclear waste.

Nuclear waste 13 June 2008

For a small financial inducement the Local Authorities in Britain are to be canvassed with the view to seeking volunteers to store radioactive waste. During his monthly media conference, the British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, said that:

“The world may need another 1,000 nuclear power stations to bolster energy security and fight climate change and Britain needs 10 nuclear reactors starting operations around 2020.”

Secretary Hilary Benn has informed MPs, that "The government, along with the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, will be looking to sit down and discuss, with any community that feels it has an interest, both the technical aspects... and the wider social, economic and environment issues involved,"

Enter the dragon!


Mike Weir, who is the Scottish National Party's Westminster energy spokesman, had this to say:

“In the surreal world of Labour's nuclear obsession, waste dumps are now being presented as an economic opportunity”

Not In My Back Yard or nimbyism as it is sometimes referred to is alive and well so it will be interesting to see which local authorities volunteer their patch on economic grounds. Money and some jobs will no doubt appeal to some of the depressed areas of the United Kingdom but we doubt whether middle England will see this as an opportunity. Our money is on Hartlepool to lead the charge.

Have a good one.

Have a great weekend. For us it’s up to Auckland for a reunion with some work buddies and off to see the All Blacks play the Brits at rugby. Load up on the Brits to win by 2 points, is our tip for the weekend!

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Wednesday
Jun112008

United Kingdom requires 60,000 ‘nuclear’ workers!

UK Map of nuclear plants 12 June 2008

In an attempt to fill 27 job categories the United Kingdom government have relaxed immigration laws in order to attract skilled workers from anywhere with knowledge of the nuclear industry. The Home Office have added these jobs to the ‘national shortage’ list with the hope of attracting the right people with the requisite skill sets.

About time too! The clock is ticking for the United Kingdom down to 2015, which is only seven years away when the current nuclear power plants are to be decommissioned. Once the existing plants are decommissioned the United Kingdom will need to find approximately 20% of its energy requirement from elsewhere. So we can see that time is of the essence, and the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has recognised the need and is doing something about it.

BUT! There is always a but in there somewhere isn’t there? Enter the unions, just a minute there are jobs to be had here so what about us? The GMB are reported as saying it would be ‘tragic’ if the new jobs went to people brought in on the ‘cheap’ We understand the unions concerns for their members but the United Kingdom is a member of the European Union which embraces freedom of movement for the labour market and lets face it the French have the expertise that the United Kingdom requires. This new stance by the government is an extension of that facility to a worldwide invitation. If we consider that Britain has not built a nuclear power plant since Sizewell B, which opened in 1994, then the need to import labour is obvious.

Gary Smith, national officer for the GMB union, said:

"There's a huge opportunity to educate and regenerate. What we will fight is any attempt to bring labour into the UK and to bring it in on the cheap."

"It's going to be several years before they start pouring concrete into nuclear power stations”


In our humble opinion the United Kingdom does not have several years before starting to pour concrete it should be pouring concrete today.

A Nuclear Skills Academy has been set up to train and supply thousands of staff for the nuclear industry, which is another good start in terms of trying to find a solution to the problem of skills shortages. Lets hope that the unions and the government can negotiate there way through this sensitive issue with the speed that the situation demands.

Have a good one.

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Monday
Jun092008

RPT Uranium: Up 18.42% today!

RPT Uranium Chart 10 June 2008


Having found support at the $0.15 level this minnow has now managed to gain about 50% in the last month, yet another example of buyers creeping back into the uranium sector and snapping up a few bargains. The volume was a healthy 841,000 shares traded and the stock price now stands at $0.22. This is a small company with a market capitalisation of $26.23 million.

Taking a quick look at the chart we can see that RPT found support at $0.15 and has managed to consolidate at this level over the past few months. The last few weeks has seen it gather some strength and put in a small rally. The technical indicators are on the ceiling at the moment so some sideways action and consolidation at this level may be the order of the day.

However it is good to see another uranium stock heading north after the battering this market sector has taken. As we see it investors are returning as evidenced by the occasional jump in the price of a particular uranium stock on any given day. This activity was erratic to say the least, but we can see signs that the frequency of these ‘jumps’ is on the increase and generally across the board things are improving. Its true that one swallow does not make a summer but we have spotted a number of swallows lately, so better times could follow soon.

We have not sold any of our uranium stocks during this period as we adopted a strategy of grin and bear it. With every little price increase we feel a little better and just maybe the days of being able to grin again are about to return!

Have a good one.

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Sunday
Jun082008

A Mini Nuke!

Hyperion Logo 06 June 2008

hyperion-plus-man-06-june-2008.JPG

When trying to envisage the future have you ever dreamed that one day you might have your own independent nuclear power plant supplying all your energy needs?

As we can see from the picture above this piece of kit is not much bigger than a hot tub and it can be transported on a truck. A visit to their web site tells us that Hyperion Power Generation Incorporated (HPG) are the owners of this small, non-weapons grade nuclear power reactor. Invented by Dr. Otis “Pete” Peterson, in New Mexico, at the Los Alamos National Laboratory which was established in1943. HPG was awarded the exclusive license to utilize the intellectual property and develop a product that will benefit the U.S. economy and global society as a whole.

Before we get too excited they go to say that:

“The next multi-million dollar phase of work on the development of Hyperion, underwritten by private investors”

Altira Group LLC has provided the investment funds required by HPG out of the recently closed Altira Technology Fund V -- a $176 Million fund focused on venture capital for energy technologies.

So it looks as though we do not have an investment opportunity at the moment however they may go public somewhere down the line.

This concept was originally conceived as a clean, affordable solution to power mining and industrial operations such as the retorting of oil sands and shale. Other applications and requests for modules now come in daily from around the globe. This takes us back to our original question in wondering just how long it will be before we can all be reasonably independent in terms of our energy needs. As we were rather curious about this idea we put a few questions to Hyperion and received the following answers as listed below from Deborah Deal Blackwell, APR Vice President, Licensing & Public Affairs

Q1 How long will it be before it is available on a commercial basis?
A1 shooting for 2013

Q2 What power generating capacity does it have?
A2 225 MW electric – 70 MW thermal

Q3 How much uranium will it use?
A3 Not much. The whole thing is no bigger than a hot tub

Q4 How many of these plants do you expect to build worldwide etc?
A4 4,000 of the first design

Q5 How much do they cost?
A5 Based on material prices today, we are looking at an initial price of $25 million per module.

Q6 Please have a guess at how much uranium 4000 would use?
A6 Fuel will be a metal compound and we are still working out how much of it will be uranium – sorry, just can’t give you a better answer right now.

Q7 Can you see the day when each industrial facility would have their own unit?
A7 Yes, but at the rate the U.S. is going, it will be 20 years if not more. Ignorance, politics, red tape and just plain laziness is getting in the way of the U.S. making the advancements our country needs in the energy area. This country is moving too slow on reacting to climate change. Those of us in the nuclear industry who understand the key role that nuclear can play in battling climate change, need to form a cohesive bipartisan intense effort to educate the public and our elected officials. It’s all hands on deck!
I bet the French incorporate SMRs (small modular reactors) into their industrial infrastructure – and hopefully they will be our SMRs! – before the U.S. does. France apparently did a good job of pulling its people together to make energy independence through nuclear a national imperative. We need to do the same.

Q8 What about a mini version suitable for the residential market - I know we are pushing it here, but if you don't have dreams they cant come true.
A8 Again, at least 25 years away in the U.S. because politics, and fear generated by ignorance in the general population is getting in the way.




Hyperion Power Generation have assembled a team of scientists and other capable professionals who intend to develop this product for all of the good uses that we can possibly imagine.

We certainly wish them every success in their endeavours and we will watch for future developments and possible investment opportunities regarding Hyperion.

Any comments? Please feel free to add them to this article.

Have a good one.

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Hyperion Plant 06 June 2006

Tuesday
Jun032008

Is Cold Fusion the Future?

Yoshiaki Arata 03 June 2008

Yoshiaki Arata.

One of our readers has alerted to us this article regarding cold fusion by Steven Krivit of the New Energy Times. It refers to a recent demonstration by researchers in Japan on the 22nd May 2008 who apparently managed to produce excess heat and helium-4, the results of an historic low-energy nuclear reaction experiment.

The brains behind this demonstration is Yoshiaki Arata, a top physicist in Japan who has been awarded the Order of Cultural Merit which is Japan's highest award. He is also the first person to have performed a thermonuclear fusion experiment showing large amounts of d-d reactions in Japan. Professor Yue Chang Zhang assisted Yoshiaki Arata demonstrated very successfully the generation of continuous excess energy (heat) from ZrO2-nano-Pd sample powders under D2 gas charging and generation of helium-4.

As we are not physicists we are now way out of our depth but we are curious and bring this demonstration to your attention. Maybe some of our readers can throw some light on just how this will be used and what this means in terms of benefits to humankind.

To read the article in full, please click this link to the Energy Times web site. Also, you might find this link to the physics world interesting.

Have a good one.

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Sunday
Jun012008

Uranium: Survey Predicts Higher Prices Ahead!

RCR logo 02 June 2008

An Australian company, Resource Capital Research (RCR) believes that an expected improvement in the price of uranium is part of the reason behind an improving outlook for uranium stocks on both the Australian and Canadian exchanges.

A senior analyst for RCR, John Wilson, said that “positive market sentiment has returned, driven by indications the spot uranium price is about to head up, combined with relative stability in the equity markets following the sub prime rout.”

The survey goes on to say that the market valuation of Australian companies with one or more uranium projects (266 companies) is up 23% over the past month, up 12% over the past 3 months, and down 8% over the past 12 months. This is not dissimilar to what we have been witnessing on the Toronto Stock Exchange where a number of uranium stocks have demonstrated signs of life including one of our ‘buys’ Laramide which is up 60% over the last month.

There are two more interesting snippets in this article are as follows:

Firstly, America's Congressional Budget Office reported that nuclear power would be commercially competitive compared to conventional fossil fuel technologies at a carbon price of $US45/t. Rising prices of competing energy sources - both spot oil and thermal coal prices, which spiked over $US130/bbl and $US130/t respectively, reinforces the commercial potential of nuclear energy.

Secondly, Planned and proposed construction of new nuclear power reactors worldwide has increased "strongly" in the past two years. From January 2007 to May this year there was an increase of 89 reactors from 222 reactors to 311 reactors (+40%). This compares with 439 nuclear power reactors currently in operation and 36 under construction.

To read the article in full just click this link.

We are pleased to see that this is a positive view from the southern hemisphere and thank one of our readers, W, for alerting us to it.

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Wednesday
May282008

New Nuclear Plants for Britain!

Gordon Brown 29 May 2008


The British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has said that is it time to become more ambitious with the plans for nuclear power for Britain. Three cheers for the British PM!

As we see it the United Kingdom government have adopted a softly, softly approach to nuclear power by first of all introducing the idea of replacing the old plants and are now going a tiny step further by recognising the need for more nuclear power plants. Having got this far they really need to get their skates on if they are not to fall through the energy gap and enter a period of rotational black outs! As well as replacing 23 existing plants a further 14 new sites have been identified as possible sites for new nuclear plants.

According to John Hutton, Business Secretary no "artificial cap" will be put on the proportion of electricity to be generated by this or any other source of "low-carbon energy". Well this should open the gates a little. The Prime Minister goes on to say that: "We want to do more to diversify our supply of energy and that's why I think we are pretty clear that we will have to do more than simply replace existing nuclear capability in Britain.”

The Liberal Democrats along with Green Peace have criticised the government and the Conservatives have backed the building of new nuclear power plants as long as no public subsidy was involved. On the other hand the French firm EDF has said it plans to construct 4 nuclear power plants without subsidies in the UK - the first by 2017, we wish them every success!

As we understand the situation most of Britain’s nuclear plants will be decommissioned by 2015 so we are wondering just happens between 2015 and 2017? Don’t tell me, an accelerated construction programme! Now just where have you heard that one before?

Still it’s a start; at least the politicians have taken the blinkers off so the United Kingdom can now approach the starting gate of the race to keep the lights on!

Have a good one.



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Tuesday
May272008

Britain’s nuclear clean up bill to top £73bn!







Britain’s antiquated nuclear power plants are due to be decommissioned at a considerable cost. A total of nineteen power plants, some of which are over fifty years old have now outlived their usefulness.

Referring to the clean programme at Britain’s biggest plant, Sellafield, Jim Morse, a senior director at the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority had this to say:

"We've still a lot to discover, we haven't started waste retrieval in those parts of the estate where the degradation and radioactive decay has been at its greatest. No-one's done this before. It's very difficult to find another measure. There's nothing in engineering terms that allows you to extrapolate from what you have today."

Some of the nuclear waste was dumped into ponds in the early years and will now have to be retrieved, broken down into storable elements and encased in concrete until a decision can be made on their future. Our understanding is that the French store their nuclear waste in a similar fashion. It remains to be seen just how long this waste will remain dangerous, some estimates have been as high as 10,000 years, but we don’t really know exactly.

A spokesman for the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform had this to say about the costs of this mammoth operation:

"As the NDA continues its work to establish - for the first time - the scale of the challenge, the assessment of the costs involved will naturally need adjusting,"


He also went on to say that the next generation of nuclear power stations would produce less waste than those currently being dismantled, and that the power generators themselves would be obliged to pay for the costs.

Its good to see that they are getting to grips with such a prickly problem, however the costs are more than we imagined and will need to be built-in to the power generators feasibility studies in future.

Have a good one

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Tuesday
May272008

Laramide: Up 2.52% Today!

Laramide Resources Limited continued its rival with the stock price moving up to $4.89, a vast improvement on the $3.04 that it traded at earlier this month.

This uranium stock, along with MGA are the only two stocks that we have held ‘buy’ orders on throughout this difficult period for this sector, so we are pleased to see it coming back to life with a gain of almost 60% in a few short weeks.

Taking a quick look at the chart we can see the rapid improvement that this uranium stock has experienced as support at $3.00 held fast and a mini rally began.

LAM Chart 26th May 2008

The recently released results don’t look too bad either for the Westmoreland project located in North West Queensland, Australia, with this summary taken directly from Laramide’s web site:

“These results included drill hole WDD08-24 which intersected 27 metres @ 0.14 % U3O8 and drill hole WDD08-27 which intersected 13 metres @ 0.17% U3O8 from 8m plus 18 metres @ 0.32% U3O8 from 30m”

The Vice President of Exploration, Peter Mullens had this:

“The results are generally within ranges of expectation and continue to confirm our belief in the technical merits of the project. Mineralization in the northern part of the Garee Lens is generally lower in grade than the southern half; however current drilling has identified some higher grade material which was has previously not known. Higher grade mineralization in drill holes WDD08-27 and WDD08-28, confirms the presence for high grade pods within the broader moderate grade mineralized zone”.

Things are looking up!

Laramide has a Market Capitalisation of $287 million and trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol of LAM

Have a good one.

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Thursday
May222008

Uranium: Dependent on Oil?

Oil pumps 23 May 2008

After taking a severe beating the uranium sector is showing signs of a recovery. Scanning the radar there appears to be a number of differing opinions tabled in support of nuclear power, one of which is the high cost of oil.

There is a school of thought that argues that the price of oil is set go even higher, to $150/barrel and beyond as demand for energy continues to climb. Another argument is that the United States is about to enter its summer driving season putting more pressure on the supply side. Throw in the ‘Chindia’ factor where China and India plus the other emerging economies are expanding at a rapid pace and the projections become believable. On the supply side there are no new world-class discoveries to meet this projected demand. So the word is pile into oil producers and load up with oil futures etc.

Now, if the oil price is going to the moon then the search must be on to find an alternative, please don’t mention ethanol, the idea of burning food just does not do it for us. However, yellowcake does do it for us, as we are firm believers in the nuclear future. As we know, nothing goes up in a straight line, as evidenced with gold recently, when it pushed up through $1000/oz only to experience a pull back to the $850/oz level. The same could happen to oil, and there are analysts calling for oil to drop from its current historic high and return the $80/barrel level. Lets assume that they are correct. If oil does experience a pull back to lower levels will the interest in uranium wane? Do we don our hard hats once again and retreat to the bunker? In our humble opinion oil would have to drop back an awful long way before it could displace nuclear energy and just where is this oil and what about the environmental problems caused by burning oil?

Oil is influential but only in terms of a sideshow; the future of uranium is firmly founded on the fundamentals that support it and not the daily oscillations of an almost spent fuel. Although we agree that the fact that oil is running out is a major factor.

To recap, the world still has 433 nuclear plants up and running, 30 odd being constructed, and almost 300 in the pipeline. No doubt that China will become the front-runner and build nuclear plants at record-breaking speed just as China demonstrated by building the worlds largest airport in record time. As these construction programmes begin to roll it will become clear just how much important uranium is.

The question now is have we got the patience to wait for these things to happen and the investment community to recognise the importance of uranium and then follow through with their hard earned cash? We think so, and that is why we have not sold any of our uranium stocks during this torrid time for the uranium sector.

Going forward it will be volatile so hold on tight to what have purchased as to sell now will be to give someone else a real bargain, probably us!

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