Monthly Archives: August 2011

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8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS New Wikileaks: UN: China scolded US treatment of Native Americans

8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS New Wikileaks: UN: China scolded US treatment of Native Americans: US human rights abuses exposed by world leaders at the UN, previously censored, are revealed in new Wikileaks cable By Brenda Norrell: A new Wikileaks cable provides the scope of US human rights abuses in testimony by world leaders before the United Nations in 2007. Much of the information was censored by the US media at the time. World leaders described the human rights abuses of the United States, including secret torture centers, targeted assassinations, “people hunting” on the Mexican border and the use of biological weapons in Vietnam. China described the racism and xenophobia on the rise in the United States and the US violations of the rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups.

“China said the United States had turned a blind eye to China’s progress in human rights, but had failed to examine its own human rights record, citing the September 16 Blackwater security incident in Iraq. He stated that the United States has increased its monitoring and control of the Internet and suppressed anti-war expression and gatherings. He alleged that racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the United States, as are violations of the human rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups. He called on the United States to remember its own ‘bad and sad’ human rights record,” according to the US diplomatic cable.

The cable released yesterday, Friday, is from Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, Permanent Representative to the UN. The cable is dated Nov. 15, 2007, seven months after Dr. Khalilzad began his UN position. Dr. Khalilzad was previously an Ambassador in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld trio.

Dr. Khalilzad was the US Ambassador to Iraq from 2005 to 2007, after serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, 2003 to 2005. Dr. Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, according to the US State Dept.

Here’s the US atrocities, in the United States’ own words:

Diplomatic Cable:
http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/11/07USUNNEWYORK1019.html

¶1. (U) Speaking Oct. 31 in the annual debate on promotion and protection of human rights in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, Ambassador Khalilzad emphasized the value the United States places on human rights, described the important role these rights play in building societies, cited examples of progress in human rights (Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Morocco and Lebanon) and addressed situations of human rights violations (Zimbabwe, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Belarus, Iran and Syria). He noted U.S. concern for the situation of human rights in Russia and China. (Full text of Ambassador Khalilzad’s statement is available at www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov press releases/20071031 278.html).

¶2. (U) Several delegations responded to the U.S. statement. Iran’s representative regretted that the Third Committee is frequently misused to name and blame, which he said divides the group into two blocs, the claimants vs. the defendants. He noted that no country has a perfect record and pointed to Guantanamo, secret detention centers, mistreatment of migrants in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people, which, he alleged, is supported by Europe and the United States.

¶3. (U) The Cuban delegate boasted of Cuba’s successes in the area of human rights and said the same countries that criticize Cuba commit numerous violations of human rights, singling out the United States for what she said was torture of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Guantanamo and Iraq, sexual abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, police violence, the death penalty for minors, election fraud, “people-hunting” on the Mexican border, and violations of civil and political rights of American citizens, including wiretapping and banning travel to Cuba.

¶4. (U) North Korea’s delegate said the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan were the cause of “more than a million” deaths and an increase in sectarian violence. He called for “non-selectivity” in addressing human rights, stating that issues such as the unlawful acts of Israel in the Occupied Territories and the CIA’s alleged overseas secret prisons are ignored, while developing countries are SIPDIS the target of accusations. “The United States is the number one invader and killer of other nations” said the North Korean, and “must clean its untidy house inside and out.”

¶5. (U) Syria’s delegate said the “American sermon” was an attempt to divide the Third Committee into good vs. bad. He argued that the vote against the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba in this year’s General Assembly showed the isolation of the American position when it comes to human rights. He said U.S. human rights violations include the Guantanamo prison, secret extrajudicial executions, targeted killings, use of SIPDIS biological weapons in Vietnam, racial discrimination, and even movies that promote violence around the world.

¶6. (U) China said the United States had turned a blind eye to China’s progress in human rights, but had failed to examine its own human rights record, citing the September 16 Blackwater security incident in Iraq. He stated that the United States has increased its monitoring and control of the Internet and suppressed anti-war expression and gatherings. He alleged that racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the United States, as are violations of the human rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups. He called on the United States to remember its own “bad and sad” human rights record.
Khalilzad
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Read more at Censored News:

Grist: Solar could be as cheap as coal by end of decade

Grist: Solar could be as cheap as coal by end of decade by Christopher Mims: A report from the Chinese government asserts that solar power will be as cheap as coal by 2015. Industry watchers have already predicted that the cost of solar will drop by half by 2020, putting it at parity with coal-fired power. And solar is already competitive on sunny days when utilities pay a premium for “peak” power.

But what’s it all mean? Revolution, baby. “Grid parity” — the point at which the choice between fossil fuels and renewables is a shrug and a coin toss — has been the Holy Grail of this industry ever since Jimmy Carter asked America to put on a sweater in order to protect everyone else from the lust in its heart. All other things being equal, grid parity is the point at which all our new electricity production infrastructure switches from dead dinosaur juice to sunbeams and breezes.

Of course, even at grid parity, all other things will most certainly not be equal. We’ll still have to contend with the intermittency of renewables, and that’s a whole other cost structure to work out. But still!

straight to the source: Solar Could be as Cheap as Coal by 2015, Chinese Report Says, TreeHugger

Grist: Coal-fired power plants close down rather than clean up their emissions

Grist: Coal-fired power plants close down rather than clean up their emissions by Sarah Laskow: As a result of the EPA’s new rules mandating lower toxic emissions, coal-fired power plants are closing their doors. The coal industry is complaining that the new rules are too expensive, will hike electricity rates, and cost jobs. The EPA has these facts on its side, though, according to Business Insider: The organization estimates that by 2014, the new legislation will have achieved up to $280 billion in annual health benefits, in addition to preventing up to 34,000 premature deaths, 26,000 hospital and emergency room visits, and 240,000 cases of aggravated asthma.

Just think of all the cancer specialists, asthma docs, EMTs, and morticians that this policy could put out of work! Or you could think about all of the people who will live healthier and — if we have to get into the economics of it — more productive lives as a result of breathing cleaner air.

straight to the source: Dozens of Coal Factories Shut Down

8/25/2011 Quebec's largest nuclear plant: shut down following two malfunctions

Gordon Edwards Background: Gentilly-2 is Quebec’s only nuclear power reactor!: And the heavy water that leaked was contaminated with substantial amounts of radioactive materials, including not only a lot of radioactive hydrogen (tritium) but also small amounts of radioactive iodine, radioactive cesium, radioactive cobalt, and radioactive plutonium. Heavy water itself is not radioactive, it is just a bit heavier than normal water (also called “light water”). However when the heavy water is used as to cool the reactor’s fuel, as in this case, it picks up various kinds of radioactive fission products (these are the broken pieces of uranium atoms that have been split) and radioactive activation
products (these are previously non-radioactive materials that have become radioactive as a result of absorbing stray neutrons given off by the nuclear fuel elements).

8/25/2011 Quebec’s largest nuclear plant: shut down following two malfunctions By Brian Daly, QMI Agency, Kingston Whig-Standard: MONTREAL — Quebec’s only nuclear power plant was shut down Tuesday night following two malfunctions, including a heavy water leak that Hydro-Quebec didn’t announce for two months.

A recuperation system overflowed on June 13 inside the Gentilly-2 plant, located 150 km northeast of Montreal.

Hydro-Quebec spokeswoman Flavie Cote tells QMI Agency the leak was immediately reported to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

She says Gentilly-2 is safe and there was no urgency to inform the public.

“There’s a system that’s responsible for recuperating that water, but the system had a slight leak,” she said.

“So there was a leak of heavy water. But it was in the room where the reactor is which is very, very secure, so our employees were protected.”

Cote says the heavy water was recuperated within a day or two.

She also confirmed a second problem at the 48-year-old nuclear plant. A pneumatic valve malfunctioned inside the reactor building. Workers were attempting to restore ventilation on Wednesday.

Officials had planned to shut down Gentilly-2 for annual repairs on Friday, but the two recent problems prompted them to move that date up to Tuesday night.

Hydro-Quebec says the facility will remain closed for at least 70 days. The Gentilly-2 plant, built in 1963, will reach the end of its lifespan in 2014.

It needs a $2-billion refit that would extend its service life through to 2040, but Quebec hasn’t decided whether to approve the refit or close the plant permanently.

Environmentalists and protest groups say nuclear power is unsafe and Gentilly-2 should be dismantled.

Cote insists the facility isn’t a danger to the public.

“It is safe,” she said.

“(This) is an incident that does not happen often, it’s within the normal operations of the plant.”

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission renewed Gentilly- 2’s five-year operating licence on June 29.

But the commission added that Hydro-Quebec must shut down the plant for refurbishment no later than December 31, 2012, “and obtain approval from the commission before reloading fuel in the reactor after the refurbishment.”

DOE: Techlines provide updates of specific interest to the fossil fuel community

DOE: Techlines provide updates of specific interest to the fossil fuel community. Some Techlines may be issued by the Department of Energy Office of Public Affairs as agency news announcements: Projects Aimed at Advancing State-of-the-Art Carbon Capture from Coal Power Plants Selected for Further Development: Washington, D.C. — Four projects aimed at reducing the energy and cost penalties of advanced carbon capture systems applied to power plants have been selected for further development by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fossil Energy (FE).

Valued at approximately $67 million (including $15 million in non-federal cost sharing) over four years, the overall goal of the research is to develop carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and separation technologies that can achieve at least 90 percent CO2 removal at no more than a 35 percent increase in the cost of electricity. This would represent a significant improvement over projected increases in electricity costs using existing technologies.

Advanced CO2 power plant capture systems are a key element in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, considered by some energy experts to be among the important options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with possible climate change. Existing carbon capture systems currently require large amounts of energy for their operation, resulting in decreased efficiency and reduced net power output when compared to plants without CCUS technology. These penalties can add as much as 80 percent to the cost of electricity for a new pulverized coal plant

Today’s selections focus on slipstream-scale development (0.5 to 5 MWe) and testing of advanced solvent-based post-combustion CO2 capture technologies. Post-combustion capture offers great near-term potential for reducing power sector CO2 emissions because it can be added to existing plants.

The projects, managed by FE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory include:

* Linde LLC (Murray Hill, New Jersey) – Slipstream Pilot Scale Demonstration of a Novel Amine-Based Post-Combustion Process Technology for CO2 Capture from Coal-Fired Power Plant Flue Gas

* The proposed project will use a post combustion capture technology incorporating BASF’s novel amine-based process at a 1 MWe equivalent slipstream pilot plant at the National Carbon Capture Center. This technology offers significant benefits as it aims to reduce the regeneration energy requirements using novel solvents that are stable under the coal-fired power plant feed gas conditions. The Department of Energy will contribute $15,000,000 to the project.

* Neumann Systems Group, Inc. (NSG) (Colorado Springs, CO) – Carbon Absorber Retrofit Equipment (CARE)

* This project, located at the Colorado Springs Drake #7 power plant, will design, construct, and test a patented NeuStreamTM absorber. The absorber will use nozzle technology proven during a recently completed 20 megawatt NeuStream-S flue gas desulfurization pilot project, and an advanced solvent that efficiently captures CO2. This absorber technology is applicable to a variety of solvents and can be added to existing pulverized coal power plants with reduced cost and footprint. Because of the modularity of the NeuStream technology, it can be rapidly scaled to larger size systems and retrofitted into existing plants with little risk. The Department of Energy will contribute $7,165,423 to the project.

* Southern Company (Atlanta, GA) – Development and Demonstration of Waste Heat Integration with Solvent Process for More Efficient CO2 Removal from Coal-Fired Flue Gas

* Southern Company will develop viable heat integration methods for the capture of CO2 produced from pulverized coal combustion using a waste heat recovery technology, High Efficiency System. This technology will be integrated into an existing 25 megawatt pilot amine-based CO2 capture process (KM-CDR) at Southern Company’s Plant Barry. Modeling by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America indicates that a fully heat integrated High Efficiency System will improve by 26 percent the thermal energy performance of the integrated KM-CDR and plant operation. The Department of Energy will contribute $15,000,000 to the project.

* University of Kentucky Research Foundation (Lexington, KY) – Application of a Heat Integrated Post-Combustion CO2 Capture System with Hitachi Advanced Solvent into Existing Coal-Fired Power Plant

* Researchers plan to use an innovative heat integration method that uses waste heat from a Hitachi H3-1 advanced solvent carbon capture system while improving steam turbine efficiency. The proposed process also implements a process concept (working with the heat integration method) that increases solvent capacity and capture rate in the CO2 scrubber.

* The novel concepts and advanced solvent used in this study will significantly improve the overall plant efficiency when integrated with CO2 capture systems, and can be applied to existing coal-fired power plants. The Department of Energy will contribute $14,502,144 to the project.

End of Techline

For more information, contact: Jenny Hakun, FE Office of Communications, 202-586-5616, jenny.hakun@hq.doe.gov

Center for Biological Diversity: Help Launch Ad to Show Millions About the Human Population Crisis

Center for Biological Diversity: Help Launch Ad to Show Millions About the Human Population Crisis — Give by Aug. 31: The world is closing in on a scary milestone: 7 billion people. Our population explosion has already had devastating consequences on the planet: loss of pristine landscapes, scarcity of natural resources, and the acceleration of extinction for plants and animals around the globe.

We urgently need your help today to get the word out to millions of people about the global population crisis. We need to raise $20,000 in the next week to begin running a powerful new public service ad in one of the most crowded places on the planet: New York City’s Times Square.

The PSA will run on a 520-square-foot LED screen in the heart of Times Square. More than 1 million people will see it every day.

Please make a generous gift today to support the Center’s efforts to bring the human overpopulation and overconsumption problem into the public eye and develop policy solutions to tackle its complexities. We’ve been ranked a four-star charity by Charity Navigator for the fifth year in a row, and every tax-deductible dollar you give will be used efficiently and effectively to tackle the threats to species from human overpopulation.

EPA Announces Settlement with the Department of the Interior to Resolve Violations at DOI Schools in Indian Country/ Comprehensive settlement to improve environmental conditions at 164 DOI schools in Indian Country

8/25/2011 US EPA Environmental Justice Mailing List: EPA Announces Settlement with the Department of the Interior to Resolve Violations at DOI Schools in Indian Country/ Comprehensive settlement to improve environmental conditions at 164 DOI schools in Indian Country, benefitting more than 40,000 students

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a comprehensive settlement with the Department of the Interior (DOI) to address alleged violations of waste, water, air, toxics and community right-to-know laws at schools and public water systems in Indian Country owned, operated, or the legal responsibility of DOI’s Indian Affairs Office. The settlement will protect students’ health and the health of communities in Indian Country by reducing potential exposure to environmental hazards.

“Children are more vulnerable to environmental exposures than adults, which is why ensuring that schools provide safe, healthy learning environments for our children, particularly in tribal communities, is a top priority for EPA,” said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. “Today’s landmark settlement will help strengthen public health and environmental protection in Indian Country and will improve environmental management practices at federally managed tribal schools.”

Under the settlement, the DOI’s Indian Affairs Office, comprised of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), will correct all of the alleged violations at 72 schools and 27 water systems. DOI will implement an environmental compliance auditing program and an environmental management system (EMS), designed to improve environmental practices at all of its BIE schools and BIA public water systems serving these schools. DOI has also agreed to install a solar energy system which will serve a school located in the Grand Canyon. The solar energy project will help ensure a more reliable source of electricity for the school and local community. DOI will also pay a civil penalty of $234,844 which it must spend to correct violations of the Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act (AHERA) at its schools.

EPA conducted compliance inspections and data reviews at more than 100 BIE/BIA schools and public water systems. The settlement addresses all alleged violations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, the Emergency Planning and Community-Right-to-Know Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act’s PCB provisions, and AHERA.

The settlement affects 60 tribes throughout the U.S. which have DOI Office of Indian Affairs schools or public water systems on or near their tribal lands. Consistent with EPA’s consultation process with tribes, EPA consulted with the 60 tribes affected prior to finalization of the settlement agreement.

More information on the settlement: http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resources/cases/federal/bia-settlement.html
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8/24/2011 Greenwire: Conyers decries clean coal technology, W.Va. industry

8/24/2011 Greenwire: Conyers decries clean coal technology, W.Va. industry: DETROIT — House Judiciary Committee ranking member John Conyers (D-Mich.) today said “clean coal” doesn’t exist and that West Virginia coal miners should switch to other jobs during a speech at the opening session of U.S. EPA’s 2011 Environmental Justice Conference. “From my limited understanding, there is no such thing as clean coal,” said Conyers, filling in for EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, who had been invited to give this morning’s keynote address. The American public continues to be bombarded by the idea that coal has a future in this country due to powerful special interest groups and regional advocates, Conyers said.

“There’s a big campaign going on about how you clean coal and we want to examine that as critically and fairly as we can, but here’s the problem: I’ve been to West Virginia, and that’s about all they’ve got there,” Conyers said.

Conyers — who over his nearly 50 years in Congress has been a leader on the Democratic side of the aisle in the fight against large fossil fuel producers, particularly big oil — said the history of coal mining in West Virginia “is one of the sorriest reports you’ll ever see.”

He called for the industry to be shut down in the state and for those who rely on coal jobs there to find alternative employment.

“We’ve got to work out a situation in one state of the union, there may be others, in which we come up with alternative ways of creating full employment without just putting everybody out of work,” he said.

Conyers comments come two days after U.S. and Chinese officials signed a new intellectual property agreement meant to ease the sharing of innovative technology when it comes to clean coal research (ClimateWire, Aug. 22).

And last week, the Department of Energy announced that it would target more than $50 million toward clean coal technology research over the next four years.

That funding commitment for four separate projects earned praise from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE).

“The Department of Energy is making another important investment in carbon capture and sequestration technologies because they recognize that clean coal technology is essential to meeting our nation’s energy and environmental needs,” ACCCE Vice President Evan Tracey said in a statement last week. “This investment in research and technologies will help ensure that we can reduce emissions of greenhouse gases while keeping electricity affordable for American families and business.”

The congressman saved his assessment of the future of clean coal for the end of a wide-ranging address in which he also decried Congress’ lack of understanding of how low income and minority communities are disproportionately affected by pollution.

“Many people in our nation, particularly in the federal legislature, are unappreciative of the dimension and challenges of the environmental issues that cause us to be here today,” Conyers said. “Here’s what we’ve got to do: We’ve got to work out strategies to educate the American people and our elected officials at every level about the magnitude of the problem of environmental justice and fairness.”

The 24-term congressman also bemoaned EPA’s inability to fully implement the toxic and acid rain reductions goals that Congress set during its revision of the Clean Air Act of 1990.

“It’s still in court being challenged and frustrated by the same people that I call the pro-pollution crowd,” Conyers said. “1990 and we’re still trying to get that plan out. … I will have more to say about that when Congress resumes two days after Labor Day.”

8/19/2011 The Washington Post with Bloomberg: Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns

8/19/2011 The Washington Post with Bloomberg: Getting ready for a wave of coal-plant shutdowns By Brad Plumer: Over the next 18 months, the Environmental Protection Agency will finalize a flurry of new rules to curb pollution from coal-fired power plants. Mercury, smog, ozone, greenhouse gases, water intake, coal ash—it’s all getting regulated. And, not surprisingly, some lawmakers are grumbling.

Industry groups such the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, and the American Legislative Exchange Council have dubbed the coming rules “EPA’s Regulatory Train Wreck.” The regulations, they say, will cost utilities up to $129 billion and force them to retire one-fifth of coal capacity. Given that coal provides 45 percent of the country’s power, that means higher electric bills, more blackouts and fewer jobs. The doomsday scenario has alarmed Republicans in the House, who have been scrambling to block the measures. Environmental groups retort that the rules will bring sizeable public health benefits, and that industry groups have been exaggerating the costs of environmental regulations since they were first created.

So, who’s right? This month, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service, which conducts policy research for members of Congress, has been circulating a paper that tries to calmly sort through the shouting match. Thanks to The Hill’s Andrew Restuccia, it’s now available (PDF) for all to read. And the upshot is that CRS is awfully skeptical of the “train wreck” predictions.

First, the report agrees that the new rules will likely force the closure of many coal plants between now and 2017, although it’s difficult to know precisely how many. For green groups, that’s a feature, not a bug: Many of these will be the oldest and dirtiest plants around. About 110 gigawatts, or one-third of all coal capacity in the United States, came online between 1940 and 1969. Many of these plants were grandfathered in under the Clean Air Act, and about two-thirds of them don’t have scrubbers:

CRS notes that many of the plants most affected by the new EPA rules were facing extinction anyway: “Many of these plants are inefficient and are being replaced by more efficient combined cycle natural gas plants, a development likely to be encouraged if the price of competing fuel—natural gas—continues to be low, almost regardless of EPA rules.”

Still, that’s a lot of plants. Won’t this wreak havoc on the grid? Not necessarily, the CRS report says, although the transition won’t be simple. For one, most of these plants don’t provide as much baseload power as it appears on first glance—pre-1970 coal plants operating without emissions controls are in use, on average, only about 41 percent of the time. Second, the report notes that “there is a substantial amount of excess generation capacity at present,” caused by the recession and the boom in natural gas plants. Many of those plants can pitch in to satisfy peak demand. Third, electric utilities can add capacity fairly quickly if needed — from 2000 to 2003, utilities added more than 200 gigawatts of new capacity, far, far more than the amount that will be lost between now and 2017.

Granted, those upgrades and changes won’t be free. The CRS report doesn’t try to independently evaluate the costs of the new rules, noting that they will depend on site-specific factors and will vary by utility and state. (Matthew Wald recently wrote a helpful piece in The New York Times looking at how utilities might cope.) But, the report says, industry group estimates are almost certainly overstated. For one, they were analyzing early EPA draft proposals, and in many cases, the agency has tweaked its rules to allay industry concerns. And many of the EPA’s rules are almost certain to get bogged down in court or delayed for years, which means that utilities will have more time to adapt than they fear.

The CRS report also agrees with green groups that the benefits of these new rules shouldn’t be downplayed. Those can be tricky to quantify, however. In one example, the EPA estimates that an air-transport rule to clamp down on smog-causing sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide would help prevent 21,000 cases of bronchitis and 23,000 heart attacks, and save 36,000 lives. That’s, at the high end, $290 billion in health benefits, compared with $2.8 billion per year in costs (according to the EPA) by 2014. “In most cases,” CRS concludes, “the benefits are larger.”

Granted, few would expect this report to change many minds in Congress. Just 10 days ago, Michele Bachmann was on the campaign trail promising that if she becomes president, “I guarantee you the EPA will have doors locked and lights turned off, and they will only be about conservation.” That doesn’t sound like someone who’s waiting for a little more data before assessing the impact of the new regulations.

8/23/2011 FNArena News: Uranium Drops Below US$50

8/23/2011 FNArena News: Uranium Drops Below US$50By Greg Peel: Interest in the spot uranium market has been quietly drying up week by week confirming earlier feedback provided by industry consultant TradeTech. Last week’s trade was also impacted by northern hemisphere summer holidays but TradeTech notes ongoing uncertainty from both buyers and sellers on just where the global nuclear energy industry is heading from here. The sellers are nevertheless proving a little more keen to get deals away, so last week’s minimal activity of three transactions totalling 300,000lbs of U3O8 equivalent saw TradeTech’s sport price indicator fall US35c to US$49.90/lb.

It is the first time spot uranium has traded under the US$50/lb mark since briefly breaching that level in March following the plunge from around the US$70 level in the initial response to Fukushima. At that time buying support was unearthed as utilities, producers with production shortfalls and even hedge funds moved in to secure what was considered cheap material. A subsequent rethink of nuclear energy globally, the reality of large uranium inventories now superfluous in Japan, and moves by the US to enrich tailings stockpiles for sale have all conspired to diminish demand in the spot market and increase uncertainty generally on both sides of the price spread.

It remains to be seen whether a breach of the US$50/lb level can again inspire buying interest, remembering that spot uranium traded down into the low forties post the 2007 spot price bubble-and-bust.

There were no new transactions in the term market last week and TradeTech’s term price indicators remain at US$58/lb (medium) and US$68/lb (long).

Find out why FNArena subscribers like the service so much: “Your Feedback (Thank You)” – Warning this story contains unashamedly positive feedback on the service provided.