According to Cantor Fitzgerald Canada:
June 5, 2013
NOTABLE SUPPLY AND DEMAND NEWS
Four Japanese utilities are expected to apply for reactor restarts – Next month, four utilities - Hokkaido Electric Power, Kansai Electric Power, Kyushi Electric Power, and Shikoku Electric Power, are expected to seek approval with Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (“NRA”) for the restart of eight reactors. Before these restart requests can be filled, new regulatory standards will be announced on July 18. These new more stringent standards will be used to evaluate whether applicants are approved for reactor restarts. The evaluation process is expected to take six months per reactor, and the NRA will only be able to evaluate three reactors at a time.
Based on this news, it is likely that we will not see any reactor restarts in 2013 as a six month window after July equates to January 2014.
Uranium volumes and prices remain depressed – Having dropped to $40/lb in the spot market (as published by Ux Consulting) uranium trading remains weak as buyers seem to be focusing increasingly on 2014 deliveries. TradeTech noted that in May, only 23 transactions were concluded, for a total of 3 million lbs U3O8 equivalent.
Unrest in Niger failed to spark the spot price as two weeks ago Islamic militants from the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (“MUJAO”) attacked targets in Niger in retaliation for the French-led intervention in MUJAO’s earlier seizure of northern Mali. One of these targets was French state owned Areva’s Somair uranium mine located about 250 km from Agadez. As a result of the attack which killed one and injured fourteen, the Somair mine was closed. It is 64%-owned by Areva and 36%-owned by the state of Niger. It produces about 5 million lbs of U3O8 annually, which is approximately 4% of global production. It is unclear when the mine is expected to resume production but it is estimated that it costs Areva approximately $35M a month for it to be idle.