Nuclear still cost competitive in Japan even with Fukushima and World Uranium Projects move forward

1. The Institute of Energy Economic of Japan (IEEJ) says that for the past five years the cost of nuclear generation remained stable at around ¥7.00 ($0.09) per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, even if compensation of up to ¥10 trillion ($130 billion) for loss or damage from a nuclear accident is taken into account, the cost of electricity generation with nuclear reactors increases to some ¥8.50 ($0.11) per kWh.

According to the IEEJ, the cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels over the past five years averaged ¥10.20 ($0.13) per kWh, while the costs from renewable energy sources (mostly geothermal) averaged ¥8.90 ($0.12). However, the study says that the cost of fossil fuel generation, unlike that for nuclear generation, varied widely over the period -from ¥9 to ¥12 ($0.12 to $0.16) – due to fluctuations in the costs of importing the fuel.

IEEJ based its calculations of financial reports published by 12 Japanese power utilities over the past five years, but prior to the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

2. Paladin Energy has finalised the financing for the stage 3 expansion of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine in Namibia. Paladin’s own cash reserves have been used to fund the initial development for the expansion project, which is now fully financed and on track to reach nameplate capacity in the first quarter of 2012. The expansion will increase the mine’s annual output from 3.7 million pounds U3O8 (1425 tU) to 5.2 million pounds U3O8 (2000 tU). It is a 141 million project.

Canadian uranium company Cameco has signed a memorandum of agreement with partner Kazatomprom to increase annual production at Inkai from 3.9 million pounds to 5.2 million pounds U3O8 (from 1500 to 2000 tU).

The government of Australia’s Northern Territory has approved the construction of the A$120 million ($127 million) Ranger 3 Deeps exploration decline, subject to obtaining all necessary regulatory approvals. The decline will allow Energy Resources of Australia Ltd (ERA) to conduct close space underground exploration drilling and the exploration of areas adjacent to the Ranger 3 Deeps resource. Construction of the decline is scheduled to begin in May 2012.

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