Originally posted by Justin on April 28, 2010 9:10 AM.

Today's big stories from the nuclear industry:

Report: Iran's uranium supply nearly out
‘WASHINGTON - As the United States encounters difficulties pushing sanctions against Iran through the United Nations Security Council, reports of the rogue country's efforts to get its hands on uranium from world sources have increased. The American weekly Time Magazine reported Tuesday that nuclear experts believe Iran's uranium supply is nearly run out. Time wrote that Iran's uranium stock is 30 years old and harkens back to the 531 tons of yellowcake South Africa sold the country in the early 1980s. Yellowcake is a yellow powder produced from raw uranium and later used to make enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. When such uranium is highly enriched, it can fuel a nuclear bomb. However, according to the report, American research institute, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), which tracks the Iranian nuclear industry, estimates that the country only has a small amount of uranium left. "We know that they are short (of uranium) for a nuclear energy program," says David Albright, a former International Atomic Energy Agency inspector in Iraq and president of ISIS. "If you don't have uranium you don't have anything."’

Brazil Asks Iran to Be More Flexible on Nuclear Fuel Issue
‘TEHRAN - Brazil’s foreign minister on Monday asked Iran to be more flexible in the exchange of nuclear fuel, which he described as an ‘important’ factor for reaching a solution on the nuclear issue. Celso Amorim made the statement at a joint press conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart, Manucher Mottaki. ‘We give importance to an agreement on the exchange of nuclear fuel since that would create trust, which is something we believe must be done,’ Amorim said. The Brazilian insisted on Iran’s right to have access to peaceful nuclear technology, but urged the Iranian regime to create greater confidence in the nature of its nuclear program. ‘What we want for Iran is the same that we want for Brazil, which is that Iran have a peaceful nuclear capability while at the same time showing that its activities have no ulterior motives,’ he said. Brazil has a nuclear power program that includes large-scale uranium enrichment.’

PFC exploring opportunities to finance N-power projects
‘State-run Power Finance Corporation (PFC) is exploring opportunities to finance nuclear power projects in the country, a top company official said today. "We are signing a MoU soon with the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) to finance the capital outlay and offer services," PFC Chairman and Managing Director Satnam Singh told reporters here while announcing its financial results. PFC incorporated a new company 'Energy Efficiency Services Ltd' with equity participation of 25 per cent each from PFC, NTPC, PGCIL and REC amounting to Rs 190-crore.’

China Stockpiling Moly for Nuclear Plant Construction?
‘Over the past few articles, the story of China hoarding moly has been laid out in detail. The loans to and buyouts of moly producing firms have totaled in the billions of dollars. The stockpiles of moly in China now represent 30 percent of the total world inventory for the metal. The Chinese control 97 percent of the world manganese supplies, and are trying to secure dominance over almost all other metals. The answer to the question of why China is so aggressively pursuing such market dominance is vital to understanding market dynamics, and what are the best companies in which to invest. But one factor that is rarely brought up is the increasing role of nuclear reactors in the global energy crisis. The reactors need extremely high quality steel tubing to deal with the unique aspects of this form of energy production. As a result of the growing trend towards nuclear power, the importance of moly has never been greater. ‘Nuclear power utilities, for example, rely on super-resistant moly alloys to replace the world’s aging reactor condenser tubes. Each new reactor will need at least 400,000 pounds of the stuff. Around 100 new reactors are scheduled for construction in China over the next few years. America, meanwhile, is hoping to build twice that many,’ reported Gleesen. If you do the math, that’s 40 million pounds of moly needed for nuclear reactors in China alone.’

Qatar takes 5% stake in N-power group Areva
'The board of French nuclear power group Areva should approve a capital increase tomorrow with Qatar and Kuwait’s sovereign wealth funds and Mitsubishi each taking a 5% stake for 3bn euros ($4bn) in total, La Tribune reported. The rights issue is part of Areva’s state-backed plan to expand and invest in a new generation of nuclear power generators for which it will need to raise 10bn euros by 2012, the Paris-based paper said.’

Pakistan Deal Signals China's Growing Nuclear Assertiveness
‘Contrary to guidelines adopted in 1992 by nuclear equipment supplier states in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), China is poised to export two power reactors to Pakistan. This transaction is about to happen at a time when China’s increasingly ambitious nuclear energy program is becoming more autonomous. Guidelines of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), representing 46 NPT states, call on parties to the NPT not to supply nuclear equipment to non’“nuclear-weapon states without comprehensive IAEA safeguards, including Pakistan. China joined the NSG in 2004. The pending Sino-Pakistan reactor deal reflects the growing confidence and assertiveness of China’s nuclear energy program...The United States and other NSG states may object to the pending transaction but they cannot prevent China from exporting the reactors. Senior officials in NSG states friendly to the United States said this month they expect that President Barack Obama will not openly criticize the Chinese export because Washington, in the context of a bilateral security dialogue with Islamabad, may be sensitive to Pakistan’s desire for civilian nuclear cooperation in the wake of the sweeping U.S.-India nuclear deal which entered into force in 2008 after considerable arm-twisting of NSG states by the United States, France, and Russia. The United States may also tolerate China’s new nuclear deal with Pakistan because Obama wants China’s support for United Nations Security Council sanctions against Iran this spring.’

Monju restart after 14 years fuels worry
‘The reactivation of the Monju prototype fast-breeder reactor in Fukui Prefecture, expected to take place in early May more than 14 years after its shutdown due to a sodium coolant leak and fire in 1995, will most likely get off to a rocky start. The lapse of 14 years has provoked safety worries among analysts who point to a lack of operating experience among Monju's technicians. The prototype fast-breeder reactor is designed to produce more mixed plutonium-uranium oxide fuel than it consumes. Development of a full-fledged fast-breeder reactor is of pivotal significance to the government's nuclear fuel recycling program. Located in Tsuruga, Fukui Prefecture, Monju has a power output capacity of 280,000 kilowatts. A broad agreement on the resumption of Monju operations was reached Monday in a meeting in Tokyo involving Fukui Gov. Issei Nishikawa; Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Tatsuo Kawabata; and Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Masayuki Naoshima.’

Mitsubishi Heavy in talks to buy 2% Areva stake-paper
‘TOKYO, April 28 (Reuters) - Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries is in talks to buy an over 2 percent stake in French partner Areva for more than 40 billion yen ($430 million), the Nikkei business daily reported on Wednesday. The deal is part of Areva's plan to raise capital to fund its expansion and research and development into a new generation of nuclear power plants. If Mitsubishi holds over 2 percent of Areva, it will be the largest private shareholder in the French state-owned nuclear reactor supplier, the Nikkei said. The French government currently owns about 93 percent of Areva through direct and indirect holdings. Mitsubishi, which has been a partner of Areva since 2006, could buy the shares in May, but talks with the French government could be prolonged as the two sides differ on how much the shares should be, the paper said.’