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Media - Uranium Industry Headlines

Below are news items that appeared in the Nuclear Market Review.

March 24, 2017
KEPCO Considering Purchase of Toshiba's Stake in UK's NuGen Report: Westinghouse Moves Toward Bankruptcy Filing
Paladin Energy to Initiate Arbitration Proceedings for Langer Heinrich NRC Grants Final License Amendment for Energy Fuels' Nichols Ranch Expansion
India Sets New Plan for Rapid Nuclear Power Growth by 2024 EDF Resumes Jaitapur Negotiations
US Senate Panel Passes Nuclear Innovation Legislation EU Approves Berkeley Energia's First Offtake Contract
Anfield Resources to Advance Wyoming Uranium Projects TEPCO Seeking Partners to Develop Innovative Technology
 
KEPCO Considering Purchase of Toshiba's Stake in UK's NuGen
Korea Electric Power Corp. (KEPCO) is discussing plans to acquire an interest in the Toshiba-Engie British nuclear joint venture NuGeneration (NuGen), according to the South Korean utility's CEO. In late 2016, KEPCO was reportedly in talks with Japan's Toshiba and Engie of France regarding a stake in NuGen, which plans to build the three-unit Moorside Nuclear Station on the coast of Cumbria, England. KEPCO is interested in taking over the 60 percent share held by Toshiba and has been negotiating informally, CEO Cho Hwan-eik told local reporters on March 22, according to Reuters. "We will jump into [the deal] most quickly once its debt, equity structure is determined," Cho said, adding that nothing had been formalized yet as negotiations between the Japanese and UK governments have not been completed. KEPCO is also seen by industry executives as a potential buyer of Toshiba's US Westinghouse unit, which is expected to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the near future. The South Korean firm has said it would consider talking with Toshiba regarding Westinghouse. KEPCO has been advancing South Korea's nuclear power export program and has developed its own nuclear technology. In 2009, a KEPCO-led consortium was granted a contract to build the United Arab Emirates (UAE) first nuclear power facility; four Korean-designed APR-1400 reactors are under construction at the UAE's Barakah Nuclear Station, with the first unit scheduled for startup later this year. [top]
 
Report: Westinghouse Moves Toward Bankruptcy Filing
Japan's Toshiba Corp. has reportedly notified its primarily lenders that it is planning for its US nuclear subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Co., to file for bankruptcy on March 31, sources told Reuters today. Toshiba expects a Chapter 11 filing for Westinghouse would expand charges related to the US unit in the current financial year to approximately ¥1 trillion (US$9 billion), according to unidentified sources. "Whether or not Westinghouse files for Chapter 11 is ultimately a decision for its board, and must take into account the various interests of all of its stakeholders, including Toshiba and its creditors," the company said today. Toshiba is seeking to limit future losses at Westinghouse with a Chapter 11 filing; the US unit is overseeing construction of four nuclear power plants in South Carolina and Georgia, the first to be built in the USA in more than 30 years. However, these projects, owned by US utilities Scana and Georgia Power, respectively, have experienced cost overruns and delays. Westinghouse filed a US$6.3 billion writedown in February and it reportedly retained bankruptcy attorneys earlier this month. [top]
 
Paladin Energy to Initiate Arbitration Proceedings for Langer Heinrich
Paladin Energy said this week it would initiate arbitration proceedings against CNNC Overseas Uranium Holdings Ltd., as the Chinese group seeks to acquire the company's interest in its flagship Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia. CNNC Overseas purchased a 25 percent share in the mine for US$190 million in January 2014, and recently requested that Paladin begin the process of determining "fair market value" of its 75 percent share of Langer Heinrich. This would be the first step in a process that could lead to CNNC Overseas exercising an option entitling it to acquire Paladin's share in the mine. Last year, Paladin reported plans to sell 24 percent of the Langer Heinrich operation to CNNC Overseas; however, in December it announced the sale was no longer likely to close before the end of the final quarter of 2016. In January, Paladin revealed a balance sheet restructuring to enable it to meet a $212 million debt obligation due in April. Paladin noted in a March 23 statement that in the event the potential CNNC Overseas option is found to be valid, it is unlikely it will be able to implement the restructuring proposal. Presently, Paladin has executed standstill agreements with bondholders representing 75 percent of holders of 2017 convertible bonds and 87 percent of holders of 2020 convertible bonds. The company intends to dispute CNNC’s actions unless an acceptable compromise can be reached. It is intended that Paladin’s shares will remain in suspension until it has resolved how it will progress the restructure proposal or a viable alternative. In half-year results released in February, Paladin reported a 46 percent decrease in sales revenue for the six months ended December 31, compared with the same period a year ago, as its sales volume fell 15 percent price and its sales price dropped 36 percent. The Langer Heinrich Mine  produced 2.5 million pounds U3O8 for the half year, up 7 percent from 2015, while the C1 unit cost of production for 2016 was US$16.25 per pound, which was down 39 percent from $26.50 per pound in 2015. [top]
 
NRC Grants Final License Amendment for Energy Fuels' Nichols Ranch Expansion
Colorado-based uranium producer Energy Fuels has received the final amendment to the Source Material License for the expansion of its Nichols Ranch In-Situ Recovery (ISR) Project in Wyoming from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission. With this License Amendment issued, the company now holds all of the permits, licenses, and approvals required to expand the currently producing Nichols Ranch ISR Project into the Jane Dough wellfields in the future. The Jane Dough wellfield, which is adjacent to the currently producing Nichols Ranch wellfield, is important to sustain the company's long-term uranium production at Nichols Ranch. Energy Fuels is currently producing uranium from the Nichols Ranch wellfield and expects nine header-houses to be in operation during 2017, producing a total of approximately 350,000 pounds U3O8. The Nichols Ranch wellfield includes four additional header-houses, which are expected to be constructed in the future, but only after "sustained improvements in uranium prices are observed," the company said. Once all 13 header-houses in the Nichols Ranch wellfield have been constructed, the company expects to advance production into the Jane Dough wellfield, which contains 22 header-houses that can be connected to the Nichols Ranch Plant. The Jane Dough project holds approximately 3.6 million pounds U3O8, contained in 1.5 million tons of Indicated Mineral Resources with an average grade of 0.11% eU3O8;; the Jane Dough and Hank Projects are both satellite operations to Nichols Ranch. [top]
 
India Sets New Plan for Rapid Nuclear Power Growth by 2024
Nuclear power generation capacity in India is expected to reach nearly 15,000 MWe by 2024, as the government expedites new build plans, India's lower house of parliament, the Lok Sabha, was informed this week. Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh said steps have been taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to "fast track" all ongoing nuclear power projects and set up of new plants in different parts of the country. "When we came to power in 2014, India's nuclear power generation capacity stood at 4,780 MW in 2014 and we had set a target of generating nuclear power by three times in 10 years and we hope to reach that target," Singh said while addressing Parliament. Unit 2 at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) in the southern state of Tamil Nadu is the country's 22nd commercial reactor and will add 1,000 MWe to the southern grid next month. The unit raises the contribution of nuclear power in India's energy mix to 6,780 MWe. Once all six units are commissioned at the KNPP, the Indo-Russia joint venture project will have an installed capacity of 6,000 MWe capacity. [top]
 
EDF Resumes Jaitapur Negotiations
Negotiations for the proposed the Jaitapur nuclear power project are being revisited over a year after utility Électricité de France (EDF) signed a preliminary agreement to build six reactors. The renegotiation will reportedly address projects costs, which the Nuclear Power Corp. of India Ltd. and EDF could not reach agreement on earlier. A preliminary agreement for the Jaitapur project was signed in 2009, and after delays due to multiple protests, the project was readdressed in January 2016, during French President Francois Hollande’s visit to India. In a joint statement during the visit, the two sides agreed on a roadmap of cooperation to speed up discussions on the project and start implementation in "early 2017." [top]
 
US Senate Panel Passes Nuclear Innovation Legislation
A US Senate committee passed the Nuclear Energy Innovation and Modernization Act (S. 512) on March 22, a bill that would enable the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission to license advanced reactors that could be developed in 10-15 years. The bill, which passed in a 18-3 vote in the Environment and Public Works Committee, would also improve the efficiency of uranium regulation. It would also bring transparency and accountability to the process by which the US Department of Energy disposes of the USA's public stockpile of excess uranium. The bill was introduced on March 2, by a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by US Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (Nuclear Market Review, March 3, 2017). Barrasso said he would work to get the bill to the Senate floor for a vote as soon as possible. [top]
 
EU Approves Berkeley Energia's First Offtake Contract
The EURATOM Supply Agency (ESA) has approved Berkeley Energia's plans to sell uranium from its Salamanca Mine in Spain. The consent by the ESA, which governs nuclear fuel transactions in the European Union, follows Berkeley's sales agreement signed in November last year with Curzon Resources (formerly Interalloys Trading Limited), for a total of 2 million pounds U3O8 over a five -year period, with scope to increase to a total of 3 million pounds. The agreement is for an average fixed price of US$43.78 per pound of contracted and optional volumes and establishes a cash margin above the steady state production costs of around $15 per pound. The company is in discussions with other potential offtakers related to contracts with terms similar to those outlined in the Interalloys Agreement. Construction of the mine has commenced and is on track for first production in late 2018. [top]
 
Anfield Resources to Advance Wyoming Uranium Projects
Uranium developer Anfield Resources is advancing its uranium properties in Wyoming and has engaged engineering firm BRS, Inc. to prepare a series of NI 43-101-compliant technical reports for a number of its projects within the State. The company views resource delineation as the first phase of Anfield’s Wyoming uranium asset advancement. The projects are located in the Black Hills, Powder River Basin, Great Divide Basin, Laramie Basin, Shirley Basin, and Wind River Basin areas of Wyoming. Anfield and BRS are analyzing the current and historic data to identify and prioritize the data to generate NI 43-101 technical reports for Anfield’s acquired projects, according to a March 21 statement. The key asset in Anfield’s existing portfolio is the Shootaring Canyon Mill in Garfield County, Utah. Anfield’s conventional uranium assets include the Velvet-Wood Project and the Frank M Uranium Project, as well as the Findlay Tank Breccia Pipe Project, which are all located within a 125-mile radius of the Shootaring Mill. [top]
 
TEPCO Seeking Partners to Develop Innovative Technology
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), the owner of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, is seeking to expand its technology collaboration with partners in the long-term work to decontaminate and decommission the site, as well as the broad range of its power generation and distribution businesses. During the six years since the March 2011 earthquake, and subsequent tsunami that led to the accident, TEPCO has been working with many partners such as Toshiba and Hitachi to develop innovative robots and other technologies to explore for tasks such as examining inside reactor units and water purification. This week, TEPCO unveiled a new website (https://tepco.cuusoo.com/), in an effort to seek additional technology partners for continuing work at Fukushima and to help it improve the quality of electricity production and distribution, and to help conserve energy, according to a March 23 statement. [top]