A large number of industry observers believe that the restarting of Japan’s idled reactors will act as a catalyst for the uranium sector – driving up the spot price of uranium and improving the value of related stocks. You can bet that anyone watching in uranium is paying very close attention to news coming out of Japan and I was pleased to see some strong indications that restarts could start taking place before the end of this year.
Firstly, Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has announced the new safety regulations that will allow Japan’s power companies to formally apply for permission to restart compliant reactors. Here’s the WNN coverage ‘Japan Readies for Restarts’. Applications to restart a total of ten reactors have already been submitted. Based on the considerable capital that has already been invested in order to upgrade safety systems to the new standards, I would not be surprised if more applications are close behind.
The importance of this can’t be overstated. We are now seeing the implementation of a formal process to restart the reactors. Combined with the fact that Japan’s ruling party is pro-nuclear and the country’s economy has suffered incredible pressure as a direct result of keeping the reactor fleet idled, I’d say the path is now set for near-term restarts.
I’m not alone in this belief. Another interesting piece of news, not as widely reported, is that the first new shipment of reactor fuel recently arrived in Japan. For Japan’s power companies to start buying more reactor fuel they need to be pretty confident that they’re going to need it and that’s good news for our sector.
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