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August 12, 2016 - Japan's Shikoku Electric Power Co. reconnected its Ikata Unit 3 plant (890 MWe PWR) to the grid this week. The unit was restarted on August 12, and the plan is to return it to commercial service as early as September 7. Operation of Unit 3 resumes five years and three months after it was shut down for a periodic inspection in April 2011. The restart of Ikata Unit 3 brings the number of Japanese reactors approved for operation to five. Sendai Unit 1 and 2 began operating nearly a year ago while Takahama Unit 3 and 4 remain offline due to a court injunction. South Korea last week relaunched Unit 1 at the Wolsong Nuclear Power Plant, which was suspended in late July due to technical problems. The 679 MWe reactor is expected to reach full capacity on August 21, according to operator Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co.
 
The British government is debating whether to proceed with building a US$24 billion reactor project at Hinkley Point in southwest England, which is at a time when the UK's energy supply picture has changed in recent years and new sources of domestic power are crucial. The fallout from the choice will be both economical and political. Prime Minister Theresa May has told China's leader that Great Britain wants to strengthen trade and business ties, in an attempt to reassure the Asian nation after the reactor project was delayed for review. May's surprise decision to review the Hinkley Point C project has questioned whether Chinese money is still welcome in Britain just weeks after the June 23 "Brexit" vote to leave the European Union.
 
Energy data compiled by the International Energy Agency, a global study group based in Paris, found that world energy production rose 1.5 percent from 2013 to 2014 with much of the gain–81 percent–derived from fossil fuels. Among the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Developmen, nuclear “remains stable,” the report said, at 10 percent of total primary energy supply, with the Asia-Oceania region increasing its use, while Europe decreased.
 
Meanwhile, the market continues to batter uranium producers. BHP Billiton, the world’s leading miner by market value, and owner of the Olympic Dam copper-uranium mine in South Australia, recorded its largest annual loss with US$7.7 billion in charges amid declining commodity prices. BHP reported a net loss of $6.39 billion for the 12 months through June, compared with a net profit of $1.91 billion in the previous year.
 
The spot uranium market was exceptionally quiet this week in four transactions recorded for the week. Buyers and sellers played a bit of a “waiting game.” Although the spread between willing buyers and willing sellers narrowed a bit over the week, most buyers and sellers remained firmly rooted in their respective positions throughout the week. The few buyers that did emerge this week, insisted on lower prices pointing to weak near-term demand.  Most sellers, however, are looking ahead to upcoming demand in the mid- and long-term uranium markets and resisted dropping prices to meet buyers at the lower end of the price range. Those transactions that did close this week reflected prices, at or very near, today’s Spot Price Indicator. As a result, prices remained flat. TradeTech’s Weekly U3O8 Spot Price Indicator is $25.75 per pound U3O8, unchanged from last week’s Indicator and unchanged from the August 18 Daily U3O8 Spot Price Indicator. read more