Uranium Prices: Japan Makes Further Progress With Nuclear Restarts

The outlook for uranium prices is getting even better, with Japan’s nuclear regulator last Friday approving the construction plans for three nuclear reactors, Ohi units 3 and 4 and Genkai unit 3.

Now, two of the three applications required for the restart process has been completed. After the third step is done, the reactors will be allowed to restart.

According to World Nuclear News, Kansai Electric Power Company submitted its construction plan application for units 3 and 4 of its Ohi plant in Fukui prefecture to the NRA in July 2013. The application was amended five times.The construction plan for unit 3 of Kyushu Electric Power Company’s Genkai plant in Saga prefecture was also submitted to the NRA in July 2013. This application was amended four times.

Now that Japan’s nuclear regulatory agency has approved the plans both companies said they will apply for pre-operation inspections to confirm that the safety countermeasure equipment complies with the approved construction plan at the plant.

Japan’s nuclear power capacity was halted due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and restarts have been very slow. Of Japan’s 42 operable reactors, so far five have been allowed to resume operations while another 19 reactors have applied to restart.

While nuclear power plant construction has continued in other countries despite Japan’s safety related halted, Japan nuclear power capacity is crucial from a sentiment perspective, and as the country’s nuclear power capacity comes back online not only will uranium prices benefit from increased demand, they will also benefit from the perspective that nuclear power safety has improved and that even with past problems nuclear power will remain a crucial component of the global energy mix.

Leia Toovey has a B.Sc. in geology from Simon Fraser University, and her degree had a focus on resource economics. Out of school, she started working in the booming mining industry of Vancouver, Canada, covering junior mining stocks and commodities including potash, copper, nickel, oil and gold. Then she moved to New York and worked as a commodities analyst covering a breadth of commodities, from the Baltic Dry Index through the softs. As a geologist she has a greater understanding of the exploration and extraction side of commodities, and how changes in technology and the depletion of resources impact pricing. At Economic Calendar she covers a variety of commodities, providing daily technical and fundamental analysis and assessing major market developments.