Areva suspended work on the Eagle Rock Enrichment Plant in Idaho. Basically, the firm is over extended in terms of having enough investment capital to do everything on its plate. The $3 billion project has a conditional commitment for a $2 billion loan guarantee, an NRC license, and 70% of its future capacity sold to customers. Breaking ground seems like a no brainer, but a soft uranium market has spooked new CEO Luc Oursel who put the deal on ice.
In a review of recent events, Yurman questions the declaration on Dec 16 of “cold shutdown” by Japan Prime Minister Noda. The Fukushima site has three badly damaged reactors with the heat deformed fuel inside them in unknown configurations and the site is leaking radioactive water.
On the other hand, allowing evacuees to return to areas in a 13 mile ring around the plant, that are safe, is a prudent measure and will create some of the goodwill needed to restart the 46 closed nuclear reactors.
Dan Yurman at the ANS Nuclear Cafe outlines the TerraPower traveling wave nuclear reactor design, championed by Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, that has been in the news lately – and its status in the US and in talks with countries around the world
Bill spoke about the benefits of nuclear energy, particularly next-generation designs. The backlash [to Fukushima], he thinks, is overblown. “If you compare it to the amount that coal has killed per kilowatt hour,” he points out, “it is way, way less.”
I just had to correct his statement that coal incidents kill less than nuclear incidents. Fukushima killed no one, the tsunami killed people.
Nextbigfuture – Asia Times online has a lengthy feature on Rosatom’s (AtomRedMetZoloto) Uranium Holding Co, or ARMZ, plans to dominate worldwide uranium production. Rosatom is the Russian uranium company. Kazakhstan plans to increase uranium production in 2012 by 1400 tons to 21,346 tons. Mongolia has a lot of uranium. India is delaying the start of the Kudankulam 1000MWe reactor because of protests