There was plenty of interesting news in the nuclear industry last week. The world quietly celebrated the 2-year anniversary of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear reactor meltdown. The White House announced its new pick for Energy Secretary, and he is a nuclear physicist. Bill Gates once again threw out some PDA for nuclear energy. Uranium One shareholders approved the privatization of their company by the Russian government. And Toronto hosted the annual PDAC, with its cold weather and cold stares. This year’s PDAC took the prize for most complaining.
The big stock indices in New York have continued to make new highs while the junior natural resource sector continues to wallow in its own fetid muck. Perhaps worse, the TSX Venture Exchange, though finishing flat on the week, whipsawed throughout the week, reaching as low as 1,094, before finishing at 1,117. Perhaps, the only thing worse than going down, is going down with volatility. The uranium price was up $0.25 per pound at $42.25 on the week, with little action to report.
IBC Advanced Alloys (TSXV: IB | OTCQX: IAALF) turned up a nice 10.3% gain on the week, bucking the overall trend in uranium stocks and all junior resource stocks. Other ProEdgers didn’t fare so well, and seemed to go with the trends. U3O8 Corp (TSXV: UWE | OTCQX: UWEFF) was down 7.3% on the week. Strathmore Minerals (TSX: STM | OTCQX: STHJF) was off 4.3%. Crossland Uranium (ASX: CUX) was down 9.4% on the week.
Two years ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan suffered a 9.0 earthquake – the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history – causing a tsunami as high as 40 meters. For a visual representation of the sheer force of this earthquake, watch this fascinating video:
As stated in a previous ProEdge article Fukushima was not a failure of the nuclear reactor, but actually a failure of the redundant systems, which were located in the basement. No one died as a result of the meltdowns, no one is ill as a result of the meltdowns, and according to the WHO, the chance of an increase in cancers in the region will be a small fraction of 1%. But no one wants to hear any of this. As far as nuclear opponents are concerned, Fukushima was an unmitigated disaster, and merits a rejection of nuclear energy forever. The positives are that safety regulations and scrutiny of reactors has increased significantly. That makes everyone safer.
President Obama named his pick for the new Secretary of Energy: Ernst Moniz. Ernie is professor of physics and engineering at MIT, and a very public advocate of nuclear energy. For example, a few months ago, he wrote, “It would be a mistake to let Fukushima cause governments to abandon nuclear power and its benefits.” Ernie has also written publicly about his proposed solutions for America’s nuclear quagmire. In his view, one of the top priorities must be to fix the “dysfunctional” waste management system. This has been the rate limiter for new nuclear development in the US, with the NRC effectively putting a moratorium on new licenses until the long-term waste problem is solved. With someone in the White House understanding and committed to solving these issues, nuclear power in the US may have the best chance it’s had in decades. However, the single biggest factor that will win Ernie his senate confirmation has got to be his hairdo. He could single-handedly bring back the hippy-geek style.
Ernie is joined by Bill Gates in his love for nuclear energy. Bill suggested in a speech that nuclear is the only power source that is economic, safe, reliable, but warned that new designs should be safer, which also echoes Ernie’s sagely advice. Prediction: within 12 months, Bill Gates will be sporting a hippy-geek hairdo.
And finally, in a bit of grass-roots market observation, the line-ups for the coat check at PDAC in Toronto were not their usual snaking 30-minute wait, but in fact, non-existent this year. This surely signals a bottom of the junior resource market. Buy more paper!