Is Nuclear Energy Bill Gates' Clean Power Solution?

Energy Investing
Uranium Investing

Bill Gates’ recently launched Breakthrough Energy Coalition may be interested in nuclear energy initiatives.

While analysts are predicting a brighter 2016 for uranium, the energy metal saw tight trading last week and ended unchanged at US$36 per pound of U3O8.
In its latest research note, Raymond James states that investors should expect muted interest with the holiday season approaching. However, it also points out that utilities with budget room could still be in the game.

Bill Gates alludes to nuclear energy?

The 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) started this week in Paris, and at it world leaders are looking at clean energy solutions in order to curb climate change.
The launch of the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, which aims to harness “the dollar power of the Earth’s billionaires to accelerate the clean energy revolution,” was timed to the start of COP21, and leader Bill Gates wrote a blog post detailing his expectations for the initiative. He said, “[t]he renewable technologies we have today, like wind and solar, have made a lot of progress and could be one path to a zero-carbon energy future. But given the scale of the challenge, we need to be exploring many different paths — and that means we also need to invent new approaches.”
CleanTechnica points out that nuclear energy may be one approach Gates is interested in. Why? He’s chairman of Bellevue-based TerraPower, a 2006 startup that’s working on developing new technology that uses depleted uranium as opposed to enriched uranium to produce safer and cleaner nuclear power. In October, TerraPower signed an agreement to advance its research with China National Nuclear.

Ontario nuclear gets a revamp

It’s been a long time coming, but it appears that a multi-billion-dollar facelift is in store for Ontario’s aging nuclear fleet. Nuclear power accounts for a significant portion of Ontario’s electricity generation.
“We’re moving ahead with significant steps right now to ensure that the refurbishment of Darlington and Bruce are done right. So that refurbishment is in the planning stages,” Ontario Permier Kathleen Wynne said on Wednesday.
Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli is expected to announce Thursday the refurbishment of “the massive Bruce nuclear plant’s eight reactors.” Bruce Power will look to spend about $13 billion to undertake the refurbishment. Then, refurbishment plans for the four Darlington reactors operated by Ontario Power Generation (OPG) will be released next month. OPG’s Pickering nuclear station will be retired in 2020.
The Star states that “[r]efurbishing up to 10 reactors could cost $25 billion and take 15 years.” Chiarelli has insisted that taxpayers will be protected from any cost overruns.

Company news

On Thursday, Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU,OTCQX:FCUUF) released a comment on Jim Gifford’s decision to withdraw his nominees for consideration at the upcoming annual meeting of shareholders on December 15, 2015. The company is urging shareholders to vote their BLUE proxy for its director nominees.
Also this week, ALX Uranium (TSXV:AL) said drilling is underway at its Gibbons Creek property in the Northern Athabasca Basin. The company is planning roughly 1,200 to 1,500 meters of drilling over six to eight holes. The drill program at Gibbons Creek is a continuation of extensive exploration efforts put forth by the company over the last three years.

Looking below the equator, Plateau Uranium (TSX:PLU) released results from its mine optimization and scheduling work. Mineable resources generated through the mine optimization will be used to update a PEA that is currently being completed.
Ted O’Connor, CEO of Platinum Uranium, commented, “[w]e are excited to be nearing completion of the updated PEA for the Macusani Plateau uranium project using a considerably more conservative uranium price of $50/lb to optimize and schedule Mining Inventories on our larger and more robust Mineral Resource base.” He added, “[t]he base case PEA scenario financial model and higher grade options will highlight the strong project economics at this more realistic uranium price and will separate Plateau Uranium from other companies and pre-development projects that have been using $65-75/lb uranium prices to make their projects attractive.”
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
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