Nuclear Stocks

Lord Knows I’m not an expert on the nuclear industry, so if you know of any particular stock that I’ve missed in this list, just put it in a comment and I’ll add the ticker to the charts.

These are just the tickers for things that I’m familiar with.

I’ve tended not to put in all the “nuclear clean up” and / or “nuclear design / build” stocks as they are often spread over a large “clean up environment of a lot of stuff” and “build a lot of stuff” industries, so not as much a “pure nuclear” as near as I can tell.

So we’ve just had a terrible nuclear accident. The cleanup is just barely underway. Nukes are just getting talked dirt about all over the place. “Blood is running in the streets”… Sounds like bottom fishing time to me. So, for patient bottom fishers (it can take a year to get off the bottom and start a trend for the trend traders…) this is likely a good time to “go shopping”. Yeah, any day another nuke could blow up and it’s aways possible folks could make some really stupid laws / regulations and kill the deal. “Sovereign Risk” is in every investment. With that said, what does the vote of the collected world look like right now?

Selected Nuclear Players

Selected Nuclear Industry Stocks

Selected Nuclear Industry Stocks

DNN   Denison Mines - A larger Uranium Miner
NEE   Nextra Energy - old Florida Power & Light FPL with a load of nuclear
CCJ   Cameco Corp - Uranium processor and fabricator
CA:U  Canadian Market Uranium Metal fund
USU   USEC - Uranium enrichment (used to be a government agency IIRC)
UEC   Uranium Energy Corp - smaller miner
LTBR  Lightbridge - a Thorium fuel bundle innovator
SPY   S&P 500 benchmark
NLR   ETF "Nuclear Basket"

Here is a great example of how a miner gets hit harder than the commodity itself. If it costs you $50 to mine something, and the price is $51. You make $1. Move that price to $52 and you make $2. But that is a 100% increase in profits…

So when a commodity is “running” the folks who mine it ought to outrun it. (For gold, that the miners are not rising is one of my worries… it’s ‘not to pattern’…) So here we have the Uranium metal CA:U dropping some, and DNN just falls off a cliff. So much so that I’m going to reproduce this chart without it down below so we can see the other stocks with some detail. Why? Say your $50 “stuff” is selling for $60, and drops to $49. What happens to your profit? Oh, it turns into a loss…

For a “patient long term investor”, if you think nuclear is going to beat out oil and windmills, this is the time to shop for cheap nuclear fuel in the ground. (Coal will likely run up for a little while as folks fret over which evil thing to embrace.. but that’s for another posting… for this posting we’re looking at nuclear stuff).

OK, what do the indicators say?

First up, notice the price itself. Plunged, whacked a bottom, bounced (the “dead cat bounce”) then settled back to a very shallow rise point. Just classical patterning. For day traders, catching the DCB can be a wonderful thing. (I caught a 28% rise on housing stocks out of the housing collapse, but it is a tricky day trade and highly technical to do, so I don’t talk about them much. But “buy if touched” trailing orders are your friend” ;-)

Price was tracking the upper Bollinger Band on the way up, then pulled away into the plunge. It then tracked the lower Bollinger Band down, and has now pulled away. OK, BB says “good to go” as does “DCB”. The only real issues is that price is still way below the Moving Average Stack. Those Simple Moving Averages can take a while to catch up when things are moving catastrophically fast. Eventually they will merge with the price band, prices will cross over to the topside, then return to kiss the SMA stack from the top and start a new Trend Trade to the topside. That is likely to be 6 months to a year from now (and maybe longer depending on who does what in Japan). Something I’ll often do is buy a “tiny” at this point to remind me to keep watching for the Trend Trade to start. It also means if I get distracted and forget, well, I still make some money. So on a $4000 position size, I might buy $500 to $1000 as a ‘marker’.

RSI has had its “near 20” moment and is now “stepping up” in small steps. Bottom marker is “in” for RSI.

MACD is “Blue on top” but with the “mouth” of very low slope. It’s also in the negative range. It is saying the bottom was likely around here somewhere, but we’re not in a new trend trade yet. (Well Duh!). It will go to “above zero” and “mouth up” when the trend trade begins. Until then I’d expect a very slow rise toward zero, with some wobbles.

Then there is DMI. Reminding us with its “Red on top” that this sucker just fell off a cliff. ADX at near 30 is saying if fell VERY hard. Both DMI- (the red line) and ADX are ‘flat sideways’ and have not yet had an ‘inflection downward’ so are saying “trend not over yet”. OK, we’re not doing a trend trade here, so “warning noted” but as an early entry to a bottom fishing “tiny”, not so bad. We’ve had our whack, and there could be another one, but the odds are we’re just going to lay here on the bottom for a while.

Sometimes there will be a gradual ’rounding up’ of a few percent for 6 months or so, then that ‘revisit’ to the SMA stack from the topside as prices come back to about that price bottom after the DCB moment. There is plenty of time to play that “swing trade” both up and down, as well as to slowly build a “bottom fisher” long term investment.

So, you must pick your style and your trade. Day Trade that Dead Cat Bounce? (It’s over for this one, but for the future: use a 10 day 15 minute chart). Bottom Fish for the next 5 years? Slowly accumulate your position scaling in over the next 6 months. Swing trade? Use a 6 month daily chart. Trend Trade? Mark your calendar and check these guys every couple of days for the ‘start of trend’ pattern… (Crossover SMA stack, topside kiss).

Notice that UEC Uranium Energy Corp has almost exactly the same price profile. A bit less upside (it is a $4 stock and as a minor player would not have been driven up by the “big money” moving in that moved DNN up. Large funds only invest in large stocks, most of the time.) So as a small and speculative Nevada Uranium miner, it just would not pass the rules at a very large pension fund. (Under $5 is often forbidden to them).

Without the high Beta mining stocks

I’ve added gold to this one so you can see how Uranium has moved relative to gold.

Selected Uranium / Nuclear stocks vs GLD Gold

Selected Uranium / Nuclear stocks vs GLD Gold

I’ve made the main ticker in this chart NLR, which is an EFT that holds a collection of nuclear related companies. It is useful as a ‘generic’ nuclear play.

But the first thing to notice is how UEC has been volatile. They are a “Uranium exploration” company. Sort of a miner… As a loss making speculation, it wasn’t bid up much, so didn’t have as far to fall on “profit” leaving…

At the bottom of the graph is LTBR. Just lays there and blips. I own a “tiny” of it as a toy. They are pushing a proprietary Thorium fuel bundle as a retrofit to regular Uranium reactors. Someday it may turn into something, mostly it’s just a toy stock. It’s my “20 year retirement Vegas Money”. Probably will be unchanged in price 20 years from now. Might become a rocket ride if Thorium catches on.

Just above it is USU. Not as much as the miners, but when there is the potential for a whole bundle of GE Mark I reactors to NOT need new fuel bundles from Sovereign Risk or a regulatory shutdown, the guy who makes the new fuel is not likely to make a lot of profit…

So for that trade, you need to be willing to “roll the dice” on what the Obamanation will do to you via the NRC, EPA, etc.

But it’s a reasonable “sleep well” company. Somebody will need low enriched Uranium and only a few places on the planet are allowed to make it without the USA and the UN deciding to bomb them…

For NLR, the indicators are pretty clear. First off, notice that the price has gone just about dead flat. It’s bottomed pretty hard, done the DCB, and is now fairly stable at a ‘fair price’ with ‘risk priced in’. RSI is in the “near 20 and bounce” range with the only ‘odd bit’ being that it didn’t do ‘steps up’ but did a ‘one and flat’. A bit odd, but not terribly so, especially in a fund that may hold positions of differing characters. MACD is in a ‘buy me’ range with “blue on top” and the ‘mouth’ with enough uptilt to be interesting. Not yet positive, but enough for an initial ‘entry’ buy of a tiny. Only DMI is really being a pill with the “here there be dragons” due to that fall off a cliff and no new trend to the upside.

I’m going to peel off the top and bottom tickers from this chart to expand the scale a bit on the rest of them; just to make it easier to see what’s going on.

Some Old Reliables

This is with a 6 months range. A “what have you done for me lately” scale. Here we can see how gold is drastically underperforming even the S&P 500 stock index.

CCJ vs Gold GLD, S&P 500 SPY, and a Nuclear Basket NLR

CCJ vs Gold GLD, S&P 500 SPY, and a Nuclear Basket NLR

I find it fascinating that some folks are just in love with gold right now. It’s badly losing the race to a whole slew of other things, not even beating the S&P500 index. Yeah, it ran up over the last couple of years. That was then. THIS is now…

OK, look at that CCJ line. Just plunged off a cliff (though with the same general shape as the ones we saw before). Notice how it lost close to 25% of its value between the close one day and the following days? There was not time to exit on that bad news in Japan… As a major fuel owner and supplier, when Uranium metal (CA:U) plunged, CCJ moved with it.

OK, look at the volume bars. Giant spike on bad news. Loads of sellers. Then the bars turn black for a few days. That’s the Dead Cat Bounce trade. A trailing “buy if touched” order gets you in, then you sell when Slow Stochastic turns back down after it’s rise. Fast, furious. Not something you can put in a blog posting. It all happens and is done in a few days.

Now volume has settled down back to about where it was. Williams %R is about back at the midline. Even Slow Stochastic has gone back to a more regular ‘tick tock’ roll. The DCB trade is over, now we are “ringing down” to a stability price in the “new reality”. CCJ is a nice integrated Canadian miner, fuel fabricator, etc. Something of a ‘standard’ nuclear stock. If you think CANDU reactors will continue to be used, it’s a pretty good company to own with a stable business. And, it’s on sale…

I note in passing that the general rules for an “exit” would have had you out of this stock prior to the accident plunge. MACD had gone to red on top and had DMI. Folks following that trading pattern would have been spared all this mess.

Looking at the NLR line, you can see how it is less volatile than CCJ (lower “beta”) but has substantially the same profile overall. On the very bottom we have the rather interesting line NEE. The old Florida Power and Light FPL has been mergered into them:

NextEra Energy, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the generation, transmission, distribution, and sale of electric energy in the United States and Canada. The company, through its subsidiary, NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, involves in the generation of renewable energy from the wind and sun in North America. It operates emissions-free nuclear power generation facilities in New Hampshire, Iowa, and Wisconsin as part of the NextEra Energy nuclear fleet. The company’s other subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, serves approximately 4.5 million residential, commercial, and industrial customers in Florida. In addition, it leases wholesale fiber-optic network capacity and dark fiber to telephone, wireless carriers, Internet, and other telecommunications companies. The company was formerly known as FPL Group, Inc. and changed its name to NextEra Energy, Inc. in May 2010. NextEra Energy, Inc. was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Juno Beach, Florida.

With a 3.9% dividend, rising price slope, nice collection of generation capacity and a “green marketing angle” it’s a decent “sleep well” widows and orphans kind of stock. Not much to trade, but then again, not all your portfolio needs to be traded…

Oddly enough, over the last 3 months, even IT has beaten gold as an investment. (This is a static chart, to preserve the history…)

NEE vs GLD and SPY April 2011

NEE vs GLD and SPY April 2011

And without that sickening plunge at the start of the chart either… (click on the chart for a cleaner more readable version).

So tell me again why I ought to be in gold right now if even a utility company invested in nuclear power during a nuclear crisis has outperformed it? ….

In Conclusion

OK, I’ve made a couple of these “focused stock postings” now (as a change from the more typical “all at once” WSW postings). I hope they are more interesting to folks. I’ve also broadened it a bit to include some of a variety of styles (so you can pick your preference, from Bottom Fishing to Long Term Investor to Trend Trader to..)

Which will I be doing? Well, the fact is I do some of each. I manage my spouses accounts too, and between our differing goals, and that about 1/2 to 3/4 of mine are in “long term things”, I tend to wander between styles as the situation warrants. So if I made a DCB trade and ended up missing the exit, I could easily find myself just doing a “double down” at the start of the “swing trade”, exit at the top, then reenter at double that on the start of the “trend trade”. Being able to swap your style of trade as events develop is tricky. Many folks can get themselves all tripped up doing it, so don’t do it much until you have spent a lot of time doing it well on paper. With that said, being able to look at the chart and simply say “Damn, missed the DCB, OK, what is the trade NOW?” and responding appropriately can rescue many a ‘broken trade’.

So I’m in LTBR in a ‘tiny’ until I die. Don’t care what the price does. I’ve owned CCJ and USU from time to time, but a lot of the time I find the ETFs easier to trade (charts work better on bundles… less artifacts from things like management changes and earings reports). So most likely I’ll buy a bit of CCJ for a 5 year horizon. If it drops, I’ll buy more. And I’ll likely trade NLR using a 6 month daily chart.

What is inside NLR? For a nominal “nuclear fund” a rather odd mix of things:

Constellation Energy Group, Inc CEG 8.52
Exelon Corporation Common Stock EXC 8.09
Fronteer Gold N/A 5.76
1963 4.92
Fronteer Gold Inc. Common Stock FRG 4.90

Looks like they have dabbled in gold, too. Probably part of their low performance at the moment, but does explain the flatter exit from the DCB. Then again, many of the miners put one thing in their name, but mine many things from their properties. FRG, for example, has a mix of copper, gold, silver, and uranium properties.

so not so good as a clear Nuclear Play, but for folks who can’t decide on gold, vs silver, vs uranium, vs… well, it’s a basket…

Some utilities, some coal, some gold and silver… oh, and even a bit of nuclear stocks ;-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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14 Responses to Nuclear Stocks

  1. Matt says:

    When did we have a “terrible nuclear accident”?

    We, that is the Japanese have just been hit with a terrible act of God.

    Is that the one you meant?


  2. George says:

    If your house gets hit by a tornado, did you suffer a “household accident”. It might seem like semantics but this is NOT a nuclear accident. This was a natural disaster. The mother of all tsunamis hitting an industrial complex is not “accidental”.

  3. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Not sure about the U stocks. The demand will drop, there is plenty of uranium around still from the nuclear bomb days. And reactors will be closed over the world after this and it’ll be harder to build new ones? PDN bounce the other day is good, but it’ll probably dribble sideways for a few months so no rush to get in?

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    Note that in this case “nuclear accident” means “accident involving nuclear stuff” and not “nuclear CAUSED accident”, but that distinction is really pointless in a finanical context.


    Yup. The one where 4 reactors blew nuclear shit into the open air and where you have to wear a bunny suit to work on them. I count “nuclear fuel in the air” as a “terrible nuclear accident”. That the tsunami triggered it, does not excuse the people who put it next to that fault line and ocean. They could just as easily have built it 30 feet higher up the hill. Nor does it excuse GE who could have designed a spent fuel pool / building that doesn’t self destruct if the light switch is off too long. (As they have done with more modern designs).


    But if you built your home of straw and put it in a tornado alley, that IS a “housing accident”. Especially given that a rebar / concrete or undergrounded home comes through it just fine…


    No, there is no quarter on that point.

    Make a division in your mind. THIS is a financial / trading thread. To predict where stocks will move, you must think like the “average person” in the market. To them it IS A TERRIBLE NUCLEAR DISASTER. If you don’t accept that, you will be making wrong financial decisions.

    Markets are not about what technically is; markets are about what do people believe is.

    So drop the “no nuclear disaster” meme on this thread. Bring it up all you want on a nuclear technology thread. This is about money and trading. For that, what’s in the MSM is the guide to the herd psychology.

    In that context “price plunged on a major nuclear accident” is exactly a correct description of how folks dumping the stock were making their decisions. That insight is not to be compromised.

    AND how they will be making decisions about licensing, and operating permits going forward. If you think “there was no accident” you will blindly rush into that legal blender and get chopped to shreds.

    So, is it “time to buy”? Depends a whole lot on what everyone else will be thinking going forward. If you think “no accident” you buy in heaping buckets right now; then get to piss and moan when you find all your plants shut down and de-licensed… and you lose money. If instead you think “Nuclear accident – time to buy?” you enter with caution, watching the news flow and ready to bail if it looks like Sovereign Risk is going to crush you.

    I know, it’s a bit schitzo. Such is the life of a trader…

    FWIW I learned this at great expense. The number of times I was in a trade for all the right reasons and then discovered that “stupid decisions” by others “broke the trade” is larger than I care to think about. So when entering a trading thread repeat to yourself: “It’s not about me, and it’s not about you, and it’s not about what I think, and it’s not about what you think. It’s all about THEM and what THEY think.” And they think it’s a “Terrible nuclear accident”. So it is.

  5. E.M.Smith says:

    @Scarlet Pumpernickel:

    Yes, as mentioned in the article, it can take a year to finish a ‘bottom process’. So for very long term investors, you can ‘scale in slowly’. For folks looking for faster money, there are trades you can make based on the usual bottoming pattern. (DCB trade, the slower rise – return to bottom of the swing trade, then about a 6 mos-year(s?) out you get the new “trend trade” as all is forgotten.)

    I’ve deliberately left it open as to which of those trades (and the assciated timings) folks might find of interest given their needs / styles / etc.

    If you go to a ‘decarbonized’ future, there isn’t a lot of choice other than nuclear for a cold dark night…

  6. George says:

    Well, I am of the opinion they did pretty much all they could do. When they built the plants they didn’t know about things like subduction faults and plate tectonics. At least not when planning the location in the early 1960’s and construction in the mid 1960’s.

    When they learned of evidence of tsunamis larger than previously thought possible, they scheduled all four of those plants for decommissioning. Unit 1 was scheduled for final shutdown in preparation for decommissioning on March 21. Had the quake waited three weeks, there would be less of a problem on the site as only two reactors would be running.

    Units 5 and 6 were built on higher ground and are a newer design. Units 7 and 8 (under construction) are of an even newer design. 5 and 6 survived just fine though they weren’t running. Their emergency generators survived.

    So TEPCO had all four plants scheduled for decommissioning that were vulnerable to just this sort of thing. I don’t see what more they could do. It is blaming them for not knowing in advance the exact date the quake would strike in exactly that location.

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    In looking for some added choices in the nuclear area, I found two other ETFs. Both very thinly traded at the moment.

    NUCL and PKN. NUCL from iShares raded 403 shares today. Yeah, painfully thin… $16,000 was the entire daily trade. And I wonder how much of that was the vendor of the fund doing some housekeeping…

    On the other hand, it has an odd mix of things in it. Several have numeric stock IDs, so one would need to do some hunting to find out even what they are. Overseas somewhere I presume. Their other holdings also have an “Out of the US” feel to them:

    Top 10 Holdings (76.65% of Total Assets)	 
    Company	Symbol	% Assets
    	6503	10.08
    AMEC	AMEC.L	9.19
    	7011	8.96
    McDermott International, Inc. C	MDR	8.64
    E.ON N	EOAN.DE	7.58
    	1963	6.53
    	8035	6.35
    	IBE.BC	6.05
    	9503	5.69

    So you’ve got a Canadian (that also trades in the US) in CCJ, a german in EMOAN.DE, and AMEC.L that trades in London. Of the batch, MDR is the most interesting. Rising lower left to upper right. Did not fall out of bed on the nuclear accident / event. Looks like a broad spectrum design / manufacture / build company including some medical isotopes. Probably worth a closer investigation.

    and then there is PKN, the “PowerShares” traded 4,822 shares. A bit better… but still near nothing.

    Its holdings:

    Top 10 Holdings (39.96% of Total Assets)	 
    Company	Symbol	% Assets
    AREVA	CEI.PA	7.82
    	TOSBF	5.91
    Shaw Group Inc. (The) Common St	SHAW	3.69
    Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co Ltd	N/A	3.55
    	EQN	3.15
    E.ON N	EOAN.DE	3.07
    Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc Co	TMO	2.99
    Exelon Corporation Common Stock	EXC	2.93

    Areva on the Paris exchange. A Toronto Uranium miner. TMO and EXC might be worth some exploring.

    At any rate, if you would like some non-US exposure, it looks like these two funds have some. Though it would take a while to dig out what all this stuff is.


    Please Note:

    It isn’t about what is right.
    It isn’t about blame nor the justification for blame
    it isn’t about reality, truth, beauty, honesty,…

    It isn’t about what could have been done, what is reasonable, rational, good, evil, none of that matters.

    When trading, it is ALL about the mindset of the others

    It is very important to be able to put on that mindset like a familar pair of old tennis shoes.

    You have to swallow who you are and let it go.
    You have to swallow what you know is right and let it go.
    You have to accept that those blithering idiots who have it all wrong have more money than you do and THEY are going to move the market based on THEIR point of view.

    So AlGore and George Sorros and their band of junior MBAs with a nice degree in “nothing much” are going to move this market in these stocks.

    It is simply imperative to embrace that. (Don’t worry, you can have a mug of Scotch later to get the taste out of your mouth ;-)

    I have a hard enough time doing that as it stands. With someone reminding me of reality it is even harder to “embrace the fantasy” and know what those folks will do.

    Think of it as a kind of “method acting”. It’s hard enough to think like you are Batman without someone saying “Hey, we need your costume for the cleaners and your wife said to pick up bread on the way home!”.

    It “breaks the gel”…

    So all the points you brought up about siting and ‘what they new and when the knew it’ are just not part of the gestalt of the MBA who doesn’t know what a neutron is nor care and who wasn’t even alive when the plant was built. What he knows is he has $10,000,000 he’s supposed to place somewhere for his boss and he needs a bonus for his new BMW and “there was a nuclear accident in Japan”.

    How is HE going to think. As he is going to move that market, not me and my $1000 “tiny” buy…

    If you start from “there was no accident” you can never get inside his head…

    Like I said, it’s schitzo. But it works…

    So when dealing with a ‘trading’ thread, MSM “is reality” and “newsflow” drives stocks. Reality be damned. (And on the non-trading / stock threads reality is surpreme and MSM is clueless… but not here and not if you want to make money.) If it helps, remember that people bought “pet rocks” and still buy Chia Pets… if you believe “no one would ever buy one” you don’t make the bucks…

    So, while trying to decide “Is it time to buy nuclear stocks” you have to think “in the face of this terrible nuclear accident”. When that guy says “yes”, the price will start to move up, not before.

    IMHO, we’re close, but not entirely there yet. (Though I do have to say it’s hard for me to hold that mindset… reality just really fights me on it… that’s part of why I’m so adamant about “not on this thread” as just the reminder of reality ‘breaks the gel’ and I”m back at thinking “that jerk, what does HE know, dumb MBA who flunked high school physics”… and “It’s not about what I know, or what you know…” it’s all about what HE knows, even if it is wrong…)

    So will he look at the value and say “Well, we’re stuck with nukes for the next 20 years anyway and this is really cheap now” and buy? Or will he say “Obama said windmills and solar panels will fix it” and buy solar / windmill stocks.? If you can’t crawl into their mindset, you can’t get the answer. Watching charts can show you the concensus those folks reached, but you must be able to believe and accept that concensus…

    So looks to me like the charts are saying “they are at the ‘hold your nose’ and buy point” but it will dribble down just a bit more on the “retest” of the bottom. That’s the last call to get on board. But if I don’t embrace the idea that this is a “terrible nuclear disaster” I won’t have my ear tuned properly when next the EPA or Obama talk about the “nuclear accident” and I will not properly pick up the signal that “Nukes are evil and to be regulated to a shutdown” vs “Nukes are a necessary evil as we regulate carbon to a shutdown.” To make money I must be open to hear that message as the “Sorros Lackey” would hear it… ’cause he will be slinging $Millions to $Hundreds of Millions and I’m only shooting $1000s and his guns are gonna win. Every Time.

    So here, on this page, it was a ‘terrible nuclear accident’ right up until the MSM and Bobby BMW decide otherwise…

  8. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    I think the whole problem with the U spot price, is that its more like a cattle yard sale. Only governments can buy it. So the last price is just whatever it traded at somewhere on earth. So someone could buy 20 grams of Uranium had a slightly higher price, and it could move up. That’s how they spiked Uranium so high in that last spike, there was not really volume of such reported. It’s basically like Cattle being sold in stock yards, and the price being reported on the last price. Because the government can only buy it as well. Also there is still a huge stockpile of uranium around as well from the cold war which can be used. Lots of nukes to be taken apart. So it’s hard to gauge the true price of uranium as the market is inherently rigged.

    I think Gold is more of a play at the moment, Uranium will have it’s turn again, but there just now too much bad news with it.

  9. cementafriend says:

    Chiefio, one of the things with miners is hedging of the product or currency in which the product is sold. The supposed Guru and advisor to the Australian government on climate economics Garnaut was chairman of Lihir Gold before and during the GFC when the price of gold shot up. The company actually made a loss through a) trying to unravel poor hedge contracts and not being able to take advantage of the increased prices.
    Mine operators have little knowledge of commodity markets and what drives them. They just want a steady income. Company financial officers and board members are supposed to look after the operational and financials risks to to give a good return on investment but there are many incompetents often earning very much more than they are worth.

  10. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Don’t know about Lihir, it’s always had problems, it seemed to always mine the market more then the mine. It was promoted has unhedged, then suddenly its hedged and it needed massive rights issues. Also the autoclaves seemed to always have a problem.

    It also dumps it’s waste into the ocean, which is banned overseas eg in China and USA. So if this is changed this mine could have a problem.

    Anyway, would be funny if Lihir island erupted again, I mean it still has geothermal activity, so it’s not totally dead :P

    In Australia, I like GDO, since it’s mine is not in Australia :P (Though Lihir is in PNG) :P

  11. cementafriend says:

    Lihir is now part of Newcest (NCM). The takeover at least gave the long suffering Lihir shareholders some reward.

  12. Scarlet Pumpernickel says:

    Hey maybe I’ll have a look at PDN after all if we can’t use these old weapons :P

  13. E.M.Smith says:

    @Scarlet Pumpernickel:

    I presume you mean PDN.AX or PDN.TO Paladin company? Australian with mines in Africa?

    FWIW there isn’t really any problem running MOX fuel. ALL uranium reactors are running on a mix of U and Pu after they have run for a while. This just shifts the ratio from the start. Yeah, the fuel designer has to allow for that in the bundle design. Not a big deal, really.

    (Notice this is an old article and talks about an increase in number of ractors BY the year 2000. And that the USA tested MOX in the ’60s / ’70s.

    Eighteen power reactors in Germany, France, and Belgium are using MOX fuel. France plans to expand the number of reactors using MOX from nine to 16 reactors by the year 2000. All of these are light water reactors (LWRs). These reactors use ordinary water for slowing down the neutrons needed to maintain the nuclear chain reaction and for cooling the reactor.

    In the United States, MOX fuel was used in tests in LWRs during the 1960s and 1970s. But drawing on the European experience, dozens of LWRs could potentially be used for plutonium disposition (see below for discussion of safety issues). The time it would take to convert plutonium into non-weapons-usable irradiated fuel in reactors depends on a number of factors:

    the number, size, and type of reactors used, and average reactor power output
    the percentage of plutonium in the MOX fuel
    the percentage of the reactor core that is loaded with MOX fuel

    With one-third MOX cores, and 2.5 percent plutonium in the MOX, it would take 8 reactors (of 1,000 megawatts electrical each) about 30 years to complete disposition of 50 metric tons of plutonium. The number of years would be reduced proportionally to the increase in MOX core loading, the number of reactors used, and their power output. Thus, three reactors operating on a full MOX core with 6.8 percent plutonium could complete the disposition in about 10 years.

    So for all the fretting about it, it really would only take a few reactors to use all the bomb cores as fuel (and many reactors have now been built that are designed to run on MOX fuel, for example Palo Verde in Phoenix, Az.) so many of the ‘not designed with added control rod’ issues of very old reactors are just not an issue in real world context.

    Then there is that most wonderful and flexible design, the CANDU that really CAN DO!

    Canadian heavy water reactors (called “CANDU” reactors, which use natural uranium as fuel and heavy water as a moderator and coolant) are also being considered for disposition of US surplus military plutonium and also possibly for the Russian surplus. Unlike LWRs, which are shut down periodically for refueling, these reactors are continually fueled.

    CANDU reactors would use 100 percent MOX cores. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL), which is the vendor of Canadian reactors, reported to the US NAS committee on plutonium disposition that it has extensive experience in testing the use of MOX fuel containing from 0.5 to 3 percent plutonium. According to the AECL, CANDU reactors can use 100 percent MOX cores without physical modification, but new licensing would be required because no CANDU reactors are currently licensed to use MOX fuel. CANDU reactors could accommodate 100 percent MOX cores because they have adequate space for any additional control blades (similar to control rods) that may be needed.

    Though that statement about using heavy water for cooling is a bit off. The dominant cooling is light water running over the fuel bundles in the fuel tubes. The heavy water surrounding it isn’t really used for cooling though there will be some heat extraction. I’d characterize it more as ‘keeping the heavy water bucket cool’ than cooling the reaction zone, but that’s just me being very picky… ;-)

    At any rate, MOX is really “old hat” and a lot of the “fuss” about it is a mix of over zealous “greens” trying to screw up anything with the word “nuclear” in it (not realizing that using up the Pu makes them and the world a safer place) and good old standard corporate welfare where if you “go slow” and let the government screw around they will keep changing the “spec” on you and you keep getting contract overrun payments. It’s all terribly inefficient and horridly managed as nobody in the process gains from doing it fast and efficienly. It’s driven by lawyers / politicians and they make money the more things are done by bickering and fighting over minutia. From a technical point of view, MOX is pretty darned easy and used frequenctly in places that run their nuclear power systems for energy production rather than political theatre.

    Frankly, you could just send the Pu, one pit at a time with an armed guard to watch it, to Canda and let them turn each one into a fuel bundle that gets stuck in a CANDU somewhere and be done in very short order and at low cost. If you really are worried, have 2 Marines assigned to watch each reactor so fueled until the Pu is contaminated enough by reaction products to be ‘uninteresting’ then move them to the next reactor…

    Or to France, they are already making and running MOX.

    But no, we’ve got to sink a few dozen $Billions into unfinished holes in the ground that we bicker over for a generation or two while nothing is accomplished….

    And folk in government wonder why folks outside of government find them ineffective and inefficient…

    Notice, though, those reactor numbers. 3 to 8. Now look at the number on the planet. Hundreds. The weapons grade Pu is not relevant to the global reactor fuel price.

  14. mar560sec says:

    There is understandable confusion with NLR (as well as URA). The holdings in CCJ is Cameco, which is a more rational holding in a uranium ETF, not Coalcorp Mining(CCJ.TO) I don’t know who is responsible for 2 different securities to both have CCJ for a symbol, but it sure can make it confusing

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