Nuclear power generation company FirstEnergy Solutions last week filed a lawsuit in the Ohio Supreme Court to block a referendum seeking to overturn the state’s planned nuclear subsidy. A coalition called Ohioans Against Corporate Bailouts is attempting to collect a required number of signatures on a petition to include a referendum in the 2020 presidential ballot.
The OACB argues the subsidy the Ohio government plans to provide to nuclear power in the state, funded by surcharge on electricity customers, equates to a tax, and state law prevents issues of tax being decided by referendum.
This legal battle only underscores the difficulty facing President Trump’s Nuclear Fuel Working Group, which is due to report next month. How can the federal government best manage a US nuclear power industry that is uncompetitive amidst power alternatives, a US uranium production industry that is uncompetitive amidst uranium imports, and the fact decisions regarding subsidies fall under state laws?
All in the name of national security.
Activity in the uranium market was again muted last week as participants awaited the Working Group report, and pondered the uncertainty of an evolving White House position on waivers of Iranian sanctions and the Russian Suspension Agreement, which involves anti-dumping.
Activity was always going to be impacted nonetheless by the annual World Nuclear Association symposium which drew market participants to London for the week. Several presentations by industry leaders and the release offered positive outlooks on the prospects for nuclear energy, industry consultant TradeTech reports. Combined with notable investor interest at the conference, hopes for increased demand for nuclear power were widespread.
To that end we note both South Korea and China switched on new reactors last week, Russia won the licence to build the second of four reactors planned for Turkey, Russia is now working on the construction of India’s third and fourth reactors, with 20 more planned over the next 20 years, and a French mining company formed a partnership with the government of Uzbekistan to explore for uranium.
Activity in the uranium spot market last week was limited to three off-market transactions totalling 600,000lbs U3O8 equivalent, TradeTech reports. The consultant’s weekly spot price indicator has risen US5c to US$25.35/lb.
One transaction was reported in term markets, with further interest emerging. TradeTech’s term price indicators remain at US$28.00/lb (mid) and US$30.00/lb (long).