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Jul 24, 2015 - News emerged this week that India’s nuclear program continues to move forward with plans for additional reactors and creation of a stockpile to ensure adequate nuclear fuel supply. India’s nuclear power capacity is expected to reach 10,080 MWe with completion of projects currently commissioned or under construction by the year 2018-2019. The government has provided financing for two more projects with a total capacity of 3,400 MWe, where construction is expected to begin this year. Another two-unit project is also planned to be initiated in the near future. Upon completion of these projects, the target is expected to be achieved by 2024.
The increase in projected nuclear capacity has led India to initiate efforts to create a “strategic uranium reserve” to ensure its power reactors do not face a shortage of fuel. The size of the reserve pool could be between 13 and 39 million pounds U3O8, enough to provide fuel for the county’s reactors for five to 10 years. A proposal for stockpiling 5,000 tU (13 million pounds U3O8) has been sent to the Cabinet for approval, however, the target level is expected to increase over the next few years. Meanwhile, in France, lawmakers adopted a long-debated energy law that will cut the country’s reliance on nuclear power and lower carbon emissions by decreasing the use of fossil fuels. The law stipulates that nuclear power should provide  50 percent of all electricity supply by 2025, and caps nuclear capacity at today’s 63.2 GWe, which means that when EDF starts up the new Flamanville Unit 3 plant, two smaller reactors will have to be shut down. Presently, nuclear provides 75 percent of power output in France. The legislation also calls for a 30 percent drop in the use of fossil fuels by 2030 (compared with 2012 levels), and a 40 percent decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 1990.
On the supply side, uncertainty and questions remain regarding Energy Resources of Australia’s (ERA) Ranger mine. The mine, which is surrounded by the Northern Territory’s World Heritage Kakadu National Park, has faced local opposition, but ERA insists the project has a future. Last month, the company said it would not go ahead with the Ranger 3 Deeps underground project, but it is still holding up a proposed expansion of the mine as a possibility.
Activity in the spot uranium market was extremely quiet this week with only 350,000 pounds U3O8 in three transactions reported. Prices have held flat since the beginning of July, but began to show some signs of weakening as the week came to a close. Sellers, which have refused to lower offer prices for over three weeks, finally made a move today and exhibited a slight willingness to consider lower prices. The lower prices did attract some buying interest, but did not result in a transaction and the seller retreated. As a result, TradeTech’s Weekly U3O8 Spot Price Indicator is $36.25 per pound U3O8, unchanged from last week’s Indicator and the July 23 Daily U3O8 Spot Price Indicator. read more