Nuclear Renaissance Nipped In The Bud [AUDIO]
Reports on the mounting nuclear power crisis in Japan are feeding market fears and prompting questions about the state of the nuclear and uranium industry. K2 Radio shares comments from one company with a large presence in Wyoming.
The nuclear crisis in Japan has company's like Cameco Resources fielding an onslaught of questions about the current state and future of the uranium industry. Cameco is the parent company of the largest uranium production facility in the United States located in Wyoming's Converse County. Cameco CEO, Gerald Grandey, held an upbeat line as he spoke to media and investors Monday saying the recent renaissance in nuclear power will continue.
"Cameco is uniquely positioned. We position this company for the long term. We diversify our production base so that we have the abiltiy to withstand events like this."
Cameco is just one of a number of uranium mining and production companies in Wyoming producing the raw material for use by the nuclear power industry. Damage to reactors during the earthquake and tsunami last Friday have led to a crisis in power supply cut-off to millions and the possibility of at least partial meltdown at the most troubled site. The result has been, both prices for uranium stock, and public opinion about the industry taking a hit.
A number of countries have already stated they will review their nuclear programs. Grandey says this is to be expected and appropriate. He suggests lessons learned will be incorporated into greater safety for the future.
He also says comparisons to Chernobyl are inappropriate, because of different reactor designs, rather he says look to Three Mile Island.
"We all know that TMI, while it was an economic disaster, had very little consequences from either a plant employee perspective, public health perspective, and certainly not from an environmental perspective."
In regards to supply production in Wyoming, Grandey says the facilities here are too critical for there to be any change in output or any change to their plans for expansion. A new insitu mine located in western Natrona County is expected to produce a million pounds of uranium a year by 2014.
Grandey brushed off suggestions that public sentiment toward the industry has soured.
"I believe that, in spite of what you hear, the public is generally pretty sophisticated and they think through these things. They understand the nature of the catastrophe in Japan; the earthquake and the tsunami and digesting these issues. I surmise, and its simply that over time we'll be back at the levels that we were prior to the event."
Market analysts believe the industry could recover from any setback as negative perceptions fade, and they go so far as to suggest the current price slump might be a buying opportunity.