Japanese Sendai Reactor Restart Boosts Uranium Prospects

(Wyoming Business Report, November 11) – Wyoming’s uranium producers are breathing a sigh of relief this week with the announcement that Japan has cleared the way for a restart of two reactors at the Sendai nuclear plant.

Japan used to rely on its 48 nuclear reactors to provide 30 percent of its energy. Then came the earthquake and tsunami that triggered a meltdown at the Fukushima plant in 2011. By May of 2012, all of Japan’s reactors had been shut down, Germany had dropped nuclear power and things looked grim for the industry. The knowledge of a future need for uranium was tempered by the low price being paid for it, and uranium companies held their collective breaths and purse strings as they waited for a recovery. 

“The uranium market was subject to heavy downward pressure from January through August this year, and the low pricing caused an environment of uncertainty for the industry worldwide,” explained Wayne Heili, president and CEO of Casper-based Ur-Energy.

Wyoming has the largest uranium reserves in the United States, and according to the Wyoming State Geologic Service has led the nation in uranium production since 1995. Several companies have invested heavily in opening new uranium mining facilities in Wyoming during the past seven years, but those companies limited their investments in growth during the down market, Heili explained.

“With the clarity of Japan finally approving the restart of some of their nuclear reactor fleet and the nearly 50 percent increase in uranium pricing since the start of September, Wyoming’s uranium industry can now optimistically look forward and begin to consider further investment in its growth initiatives,” Heili said.

The Japanese restart had an almost immediate impact on the stock market. Cameco, referred to by some investors as the “ExxonMobil of uranium stocks,” jumped 10.9 percent following the announcement.

Original article here.