INL and Colorado School of Mines strengthen research relationship

February 1, 2024, 12:00PMNuclear News

Idaho National Laboratory announced on January 31 that it is expanding its research partnership with the Colorado School of Mines (Mines). Representatives from the two institutions signed a memorandum of understanding in October that outlines a framework for collaboration on research into energy storage, high-temperature fuel cells, geothermal energy systems, the nuclear fuel cycle and reactor engineering, environmental science, and next-generation mining science and engineering.

Bull market continues for uranium stocks

January 9, 2024, 7:00AMANS Nuclear Cafe
[Click to see full graphic] Western base demand (white line) for uranium will continue to outpace the combined existing production (dark green), secondary supply (middle green), and returning mine production (light green) through 2040, according to projections. (Image: Paladin Energy)

Investors continue to be bullish on uranium, according to a number of recent news reports. Stockhead recently trumpeted, “Uranium has started 2024 the same way it ended 2023—like a bull in a china shop. Spot prices are now agonizingly close to US$100/lb for the first time since 2008, with term pricing not far behind.” Similarly, noted, “The spot price of uranium continues to rise, boosted by pledges to triple nuclear power by mid-century, supply hiccups from producers such as Cameco . . . , and the looming threat of a ban on Russian exports to the West.”

50 minerals critical to our society

September 28, 2023, 7:15AMNuclear NewsJames Conca
Three of the USGS's critical minerals: (Left to right) A piece of native copper recovered by dissolution of the host rock (Photo: Jonathan Zander); A sample of praseodymium in a vial of argon (Photo: Jurii/Wikimedia Commons); A billet of high-enriched uranium that was recovered from scrap processed at the DOE’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn (Photo: DOE).

Last year, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released its 2022 list of 50 minerals that are essential to the function of our society, especially the economy and national security. Whether it’s indium for LCD screens and aircraft wind shielding, cobalt for iPhones, uranium for nuclear reactors and munitions, rare earth elements for wind turbine magnets, lithium for rechargeable batteries, or tantalum for electronic components, if we do not have an ample supply, bad things will happen.

Renewed effort on Radiation Exposure Compensation Act

July 14, 2023, 12:01PMNuclear News


Bipartisan legislation has been reintroduced in Congress to strengthen the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), improving compensation for people who were exposed to radiation as a result of working in uranium mines or living near sites of nuclear weapons testing during the Cold War. The legislation was introduced recently in the Senate by Sens. Mike Crapo (R., Idaho) and Ben Ray Luján (D., N.M.) and in the House by Rep. Teresa Leger Fernández (D., N.M.) and Del. James Moylan (R., Guam).

Follow-up bill: Originally introduced by Crapo in 2021, S. 2798 was put forward again to follow up on the success that Crapo, Luján, and Fernández had last year in extending the RECA program into 2024. The reintroduced bill, which added Moylan as a sponsor, would extend the program further to cover more communities with former uranium workers and “downwinders” (people who were exposed to radiation because they lived downwind from weapons testing sites). While the original legislation covered people in parts of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, the bill will now also cover those who lived in Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico, and Guam.

Senate hearing focuses on securing the entire U.S. nuclear fuel cycle

March 14, 2023, 9:39AMEdited March 14, 2023, 9:38AMNuclear News
In this screenshot from a video recording of the hearing, Huff, Wagner, and Dominguez answer a series of questions from Sen. Manchin

“Right now, our country is deficient in nearly every aspect of the fuel cycle. This must change and it must change quickly,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.V.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), as he opened a Full Committee Hearing to Examine the Nuclear Fuel Cycle on March 9. “Whether it is uranium mining, milling, conversion, enrichment, nuclear fuel fabrication, power generation, or nuclear waste storage and disposal, there is much work to be done, starting with conversion and enrichment. Simply put, Russia dominates the global market, representing nearly half of the international capacity for both processes.”

Cs-137 sealed source found in Western Australia

January 31, 2023, 3:00PMUpdated February 1, 2023, 11:58AMRadwaste Solutions

A rendering of the sealed source capsule’s appearance. (Image: DFES)

Australian emergency services has located the lost sealed source, the BBC reported early February 1.

The cesium-137 capsule, part of a density gauge used at Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine in Western Australia, was found after a survey vehicle travelling at 70 km/h (43 mph) detected radiation, according to the report. According to Australia’s Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the capsule was located on the roadside of the Great Northern Highway, south of Newman. A serial number verified it was the lost source.

Last week, as reported yesterday by Nuclear Newswire, Australian authorities began searching 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) of Australia’s Great Northern Highway, between Perth and the remote town of Newman, for a lost sealed-source capsule containing cesium-137. The source was part of a density gauge used by mining company Rio Tinto at its mining operations in Western Australia.

White House would send the DOE $1.5 billion to set up reliable LEU/HALEU supply

September 8, 2022, 3:06PMNuclear News
HALEU in the form of 1.5–3 kg reguli ready for fuel fabrication. (Photo: INL)

Those who welcomed the $700 million earmarked for high-assay low-enriched uranium (HALEU) supply in the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) in August have cause to celebrate again. The White House sent a supplemental appropriation request to Congress on September 2 that would provide more than double the IRA funds if passed—$1.5 billion—for the Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy to build a reliable supply of both low-enriched uranium for existing U.S. nuclear power plants and HALEU for the advanced reactors that will be built within the decade.

Cameco to restart production at McArthur River uranium mine

February 14, 2022, 9:00AMNuclear News
Mining at McArthur River takes place between 530 and 640 meters belowground. (Photo: Cameco)

Citing “improving market sentiment,” Tim Gitzel, president and chief executive officer of the Canadian uranium mining company Cameco, announced on February 9 the planned restart of operations at the McArthur River mine in Saskatchewan.

Nuclear power and cryptocurrency mining: A perfect match?

December 22, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear NewsFlorent Heidet and Milos Atz

Cryptocurrency ecosystems are rapidly growing and are here to stay. Cryptocurrencies are regularly among the 10 largest traded volumes in financial markets, more and more businesses are accepting crypto payments, and crypto “ATMs” are starting to appear at gas stations and grocery stores. However, cryptocurrencies face one major impediment to widespread public acceptance: energy consumption. Opponents of cryptocurrency often cite its energy and pollution footprints as major reasons against adoption. Energy issues have been tied to significant losses in valuation for the major cryptocurrencies, contributing to volatility in that sector. Although crypto valuations have been quick to recover, the energy and pollution challenges remain.

Pandemic halts or slows work at uranium facilities

April 20, 2020, 5:53PMNuclear News

Several companies involved in the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle have announced temporary shutdowns or staffing reductions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the modest increase in uranium spot prices triggered by production cuts could be a silver lining, uranium prices are still below a level that would prompt idled mines to get back in production once public health mandates are lifted.

The uranium market is global, and it should come as no surprise that a global pandemic is having an impact on facilities around the world, including in the following countries.