French nuclear power in 2010 and 2011 and Cameco has a new uranium contract with China

1. EDF last week said French 2010 nuclear output would likely be within a range of 405 terawatt-hours to 415 terawatt-hours.

The utility is expecting a full-year nuclear plant availability rate, a measure of how many reactors are operating, of nearly 78.5 percent, at the low end of a target because of unplanned halts in October (more strikes). In May, EDF said it was aiming for an improvement of “at least” 1.5 percentage points in 2010 from last year’s 78 percent. Strikes wreaked havoc last year on a maintenance and refueling schedule designed to halt plants during months when demand is lowest. Days after Proglio took the helm a year ago, Prime Minister Francois Fillon told him his first goal should be to improve output at the company’s 58 French reactors.

EDF today had 49 reactors online compared with 44 a year earlier, according to an EDF spokeswoman and data collected by Bloomberg.

“The French production numbers weren’t bad, although there is still a lot of work to be done,” Boujard, the Aurel BGC analyst, said by phone. “The acceleration of nuclear production hasn’t been blinding and the target for 2011 of just being better than 2010 could have been better.”

France faces a shortage of capacity beginning in 2013, according to RTE. A new EDF reactor in Flamanville, Normandy, due to start selling power that year, will barely compensate for the shutdown of outdated fossil-fuel plants.

Germany by contrast plans to add at least 3,000 megawatts of solar and 6,000 megawatts of thermal [coal] power by 2013, Ingo Klause, lead power trader at Vattenfall Energy Trading GmbH.

2. Cameco (Canada’s main uranium company) announced today it has signed an agreement with China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co., Ltd. (CGNPC) to supply 29 million pounds of uranium concentrate (13,000 tnos) under a long-term agreement through 2025.

CGNPC, China’s largest clean-energy enterprise, operates three nuclear power stations and has the largest number of nuclear power plants under construction in the world. CGNPC indicates it has about 17,000 megawatts (MW) of nuclear capacity under construction and expects to have over 50,000 MW on line by 2020

3. Cameco’s Cigar Lake mine continues to target initial production in mid-2013. Cigar Lake is a key part of Camecos plan to double annual uranium production to 40 million pounds by 2018 (20,000 tons per year), and Cameco is committed to bringing this valuable asset safely into production. 11% of the 17% increase in production is from the Inkai mine in Kazakstan. Cameco has a 6% increase (400 tons) from Canadian uranium production.

4. Uranium One Inc. (“Uranium One”) today reported record quarterly sales of 1.7 million pounds, production of 1.7 million pounds and a decrease in total cash costs at its operations to $12 per pound sold during the third quarter of 2010. Uranium One’s 2010 production guidance remains 7.0 million pounds. The Company’s production guidance for 2011 is 10.5 million pounds and 12.5 million pounds for 2012.

Attributable production during Q3 2010 of 1.75 million pounds was 109% higher than total attributable production of 834,800 pounds during Q3 2009.

Kazakhstan mines – Akdala, South Inkai, Karatau, Akbastau, Zarechnoye, Kharasan and SKZ-U

Australia and United States mines – Honeymoon, Powder River Basin, Great Divide Basin

NRC issued the operating license for the Moore Ranch (US mine) in-situ uranium project

5. Denison mines is the second largest uranium producer in Canada Denison’s 2009 production from its two mills was 1.4 million pounds U3O8 and 0.5 million pounds of vanadium. 2010 production is estimated to be 1.6 million pounds U3O8 and 2.4 million pounds of vanadium.

Denison’s third quarters results (37 page pdf)

The Wheeler River property has high grade uranium ore and an estimate of nearly 20,000 tons of uranium. They have recently confirmed the resource estimate and will be building a mine.

6.Updated long-term energy plans issued by Ontario see the need for up to 2000 MWe of new nuclear capacity by 2030 as the Canadian province continues to work towards its goal of phasing out coal-fired generation.

Ontario’s three operating nuclear power stations, Pickering, Darlington and Bruce, currently account for some 36% of its capacity and 50% of its generation. The long-term plan sees nuclear maintaining that share to provide the province’s baseload generation, but not increasing its contribution beyond 50%. The new plan calls for power from renewable sources to increase its share to 13% by 2018 from a current level of 3%, and a large expansion of hydroelectric capacity.

Most of the 12,000 MWe of nuclear capacity needed will be supplied by the existing Darlington and Bruce plants, which will be refurbished and modernised over the first 10-15 years of the plan. With the Pickering power plant earmarked for closure in 2020, the remaining 2000 MWe of nuclear capacity will be made up by new reactors at the Darlington site.

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