A Japanese court has approved the restart of two more nuclear reactors in the western city of Takahama.
As expected, the holiday week has been quiet for the most part. As was the trend for the first few weeks in December, uranium news has been scarce, with spot prices having dipped slightly mid-month, and remaining at $35.80 per pound of U3O8 for the holiday.
But, while buyers and sellers take a break from the spot market, the nuclear sector is heating up.
Capping off the holiday week was some uranium news that investors have no doubt been waiting for – a Japanese court has approved the restart of two more nuclear reactors in the western city of Takahama.
The Takahama reactors, operated by Kansai Electric Power, had already been approved for operation by Japan’s nuclear watchdog. However, despite the approval injunction that was issued in April following concerns from locals that the reactors could not withstand strong earthquakes, the BBC reported.
Speaking on the lifting of the injunction, the Fukui District Court presiding judge, Jun Hayashi commented that “[t]he content of the new safety standards (for restarting reactors) is rational, and there was nothing illogical about the decision by the Nuclear Regulation Authority when it said the reactors had met those standards. Strengthened construction against earthquakes (at the reactors) has been carried out and there is no recognition that there is a specific danger to the lives of surrounding residents.”
With the injunction now lifted, Takahama reactors number 3 and number 4 will be able to resume operations.
“Thursday’s decision minimizes the delay for the Takahama reactors, which had been set for restart late this year,” CTV News reported
Indeed, with the injunction now lifted, Kansai plans to move forward with loading fuel rods into the number 3 reactors within days, before proceeding with safety checks. The utility is planning to put the reactor online in late January.
In the wake of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, uranium prices have been struggling. Though all signs are pointing to a supply deficit in the future, investors are still faced with several psychological barriers, one of which is the restart of reactors in Japan.
Hopefully, with the restart of reactors 3 and 4, the market will finally pick up as the issue of oversupply moves closer towards a deficit.
Uranium news: India closer to nuclear reactor deal with Westinghouse
In the spirit of making big moves towards nuclear energy, the Times of India has reported that India is close to inking a deal with Westinghouse Electric to build six nuclear reactors in the first half of 2016.
As the publication reported, “India wants to dramatically increase its nuclear capacity to 63,000 megawatts (MW) by 2032, from 5,780 MW.” The country is looking to move away from fossil fuels and curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The deal with Westinghouse will be a sign that the India’s $150 billion dollar nuclear power program is taking off.
Uranium news: China makes first investment in Canadian uranium
Rounding out the holiday week’s positive uranium news was the signing of a letter of intent (LOI) between China’s CGN Mining and Fission Uranium (TSX:FCU) earlier this week. Per the LOI, CGN will make a strategic investment in Fission worth approximately $82 million.
Beyond the the dollar figure of the deal, this is the first time that China has directly invested in a Canadian company. With China’s big plans to progress its nuclear sector, it is not surprising that the country will look to secure its own source of uranium.
As Canada is one of the top uranium producers in world, one can only speculate that this latest move by a Chinese firm is just a sneak-peak at things to come.
Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no investment interest in any of the companies mentioned.
Salman Partners: Uranium Prices to Rise from Now to 2018
China’s CGN Mining to Invest $82 Million in Fission Uranium
Nuclear Energy Takes Center Stage During Quiet Market