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lewis_whokeyser 39 posts  |  Last Activity: Oct 8, 2015 10:29 AM Member since: Oct 6, 1999
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  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Oct 8, 2015 10:29 AM Flag

    commodity-related capital expenditure accounts for around 30% of total capex globally, so even though Consumers may benefit from cheaper oil, but companies are hit first. Credit Suisse estimates that the fall in Commodities capex has taken at least 0.8% off the U.S. economic growth in the first half this year and 1% off global growth over the last year. But the worst is over, according to analyst Andrew Garthwaite and team. They listed three reasons: 1. demand for oil has stabilized; 2. non-OPEC production has peaked; 3. Saudi Arabia has achieved its goal of deterring new entrants.

    Since Saudi Arabia is the wild card, Credit Suisse analysts took pains to explain their position:
    We believe that the key variable is Saudi Arabia. If it were not for Saudi Arabia, then we fear that oil would have to behave like other commodities and if there is excess supply fall to levels where a third of production is below the cash cost and, given the likely fall in commodity currencies, this in turn would lead to a much lower oil price (maybe down to $30/barrel).
    This leads to the question ‘Can Saudi Arabia support the oil market?’. We think the answer is yes. They control the vast majority of spare capacity according to our oil team and 13% of output.
    Their clear aim was to restore market share against non-OPEC and avoid being a swing producer (and thus not repeat the 1980 to 1985 experience, when their oil production fell by 70% as they sought to defend the oil price) and also limit the growth in alternative energies. The key is clearly at what point they have achieved their objective. The issue is nearly always the same – costs fall much more quickly than expected, partly because commodity currencies fall and partly because of cost deflation.
    Moody’s highlight that the breakeven for median shale is around $51pb. Thus it may be the case that around the current oil price, Saudi Arabia believe they have achieved their objective of pricing out new shale projects.

  • Financial Times:
    Nuclear power plants around the world are harbouring a “culture of denial” about the risks of cyber hacking, with many failing to protect themselves against digital attacks, a review of the industry has warned.

    A focus on safety and high physical security means that many nuclear facilities are blind to the risks of cyber attacks, according to the report by think-tank Chatham House, citing 50 incidents globally of which only a handful have been made public.

    The findings are drawn from 18 months of research and 30 interviews with senior nuclear officials at plants and in government in Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the UK, Ukraine and the US.

    “Cyber security is still new to many in the nuclear industry,” said Caroline Baylon, the report’s author. “They are really good at safety and, after 9/11, they’ve got really good at physical security. But they have barely grappled with cyber.”

    The report cites officials who describe the industry as being “far behind” other industrial sectors when it comes to insulating themselves against digital attacks.

    Ms Baylon said there was a “culture of denial” at many nuclear plants, with a standard response from engineers and officials being that because their systems were not connected to the internet, it would be very hard to compromise them.

    “Many people said it was simply not possible to cause a major incident like a release of ionising radiation with a cyber attack . . . but that’s not necessarily true.”

    Ms Baylon described how systems and back-ups powering reactor cooling systems could be compromised, for example, to trigger an incident similar to that seen at Fukushima Daichi.

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Oct 4, 2015 7:52 AM Flag

    I frequently mention that the Obama Administration has the worst energy policy of my lifetime. Let me add it also has the worst foreign policy AND the worst economic policy.

    Let's hope the next election will bring sanity back to Washington because America cannot survive things as they stand.

  • Reply to

    OT: Fukushima disaster was preventable

    by lewis_whokeyser Sep 30, 2015 7:16 AM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Sep 30, 2015 9:44 PM Flag

    USEC made some bad choices, such as going with an "unproven" centrifuge technology rather than off-the-shelf technology, but it could be argued that each decision was rational when they made it.

    The Obama regime chose to poor billion$ into wind turbines and solar panels while discouraging nuclear and attacking coal. They refused to give USEC a loan guarantee that would have allowed USEC to obtain cheap financing. At the same time Obama gave GE $2 billion in funding for an unneeded solar project. Cancelling the national spent fuel depository at Yucca Mountain ended the US Nuclear Renaissance which USEC would have benefited from. At the same time, GE was pursuing laser enrichment which, if it had worked, would have rendered USEC's ACP obsolete. This prevented outside companies from partnering with USEC on the ACP. Obama also appointed the most anti-nuclear head of the NRC in the agency's history.

    The soap opera goes on.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Sep 30, 2015 7:16 AM Flag

    In the peer-reviewed Philosophical Transactions A of the Royal Society, researchers Costas Synolakis and Utku Kano distilled thousands of pages of government and industry reports and hundreds of news stories, focusing on the run-up to the disaster. They found that "arrogance and ignorance," design flaws, regulatory failures and improper hazard analyses doomed the costal nuclear power plant even before the tsunami hit.

    "While most studies have focused on the response to the accident, we've found that there were design problems that led to the disaster that should have been dealt with long before the earthquake hit," said Synolakis, professor of civil and environmental engineering at USC Viterbi. "Earlier government and industry studies focused on the mechanical failures and 'buried the lead.' The pre-event tsunami hazards study if done properly, would have identified the diesel generators as the lynch pin of a future disaster. Fukushima Dai-ichi was a siting duck waiting to be flooded."

    The authors describe the disaster as a "cascade of industrial, regulatory and engineering failures," leading to a situation where critical infrastructure - in this case, backup generators to keep the cooling the plant in the event of main power loss - was built in harm's way.

    At the four damaged nuclear power plants (Onagawa, Fukushima Dai-ichi, Fukushimi Dai-ni, and Toka Dai-ni) 22 of the 33 total backup diesel generators were washed away, including 12 of 13 at Fukushima Dai-ichi. Of the 33 total backup power lines to off-site generators, all but two were obliterated by the tsunami.

    Unable to cool itself, Fukushima Dai-ichi's reactors melted down one by one.

    "What doomed Fukushima Dai-ichi was the low elevation of the EDGs (emergency diesel generators)," the authors wrote. One set was located in a basement, and the others at 10 and 13 meters above sea level; inexplicably and fatally low, Synolakis said.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Sep 29, 2015 9:43 AM Flag

    Article from Scientific American:
    If you ever happen to meet a government official from Austria and would like to have some polite fun at their expense, tell them to get Austria to build nuclear power plants so it can better fight global warming. They will probably smile and squirm as they explain that the Constitution of Austria prohibits nuclear power. That’s how anti-nuclear Austria is: they put it in their constitution.

    Austria has a relatively robust renewable energy industry. Thanks to its location in the Alps, it gets most of its electricity from hydropower. But it still failed to meet its Kyoto Protocol commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Nuclear power could help with this by displacing fossil fuels used for electricity and maybe also heating, and eventually by switching to electric cars.

    Other countries could do the same. Worldwide, nuclear power could help make a large dent in greenhouse gas emissions while meeting growing energy demand. Emissions from nuclear power are not zero, due to energy consumed for uranium mining and power plant construction. But total nuclear power emissions are low—about 10-20 times lower than fossil fuel burning. Rapid expansion of nuclear power would require an energy-intensive mining and construction process, consuming much of the power that the initial plants produce.

  • Keeping energy prices high will be the "keystone" of her energy policy. It worked for Obama!

    DES MOINES, Iowa, Sept 22 (Reuters) - Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who has long avoided a firm position on the Keystone XL oil pipeline, broke her silence on Tuesday and said she opposed it.

    "I have a responsibility to you and other voters," Clinton, a former secretary of state, said at a town hall event in Iowa about TransCanada Corp's project to bring Canadian oil to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico via Nebraska.

    A decision on Keystone that has been pending for seven years is important as it has become "a distraction from the important work we have to do to combat climate change," she said.

    "Therefore, I oppose it," she said.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Sep 20, 2015 7:39 AM Flag

    In just two decades Sweden went from burning oil for generating electricity to fissioning uranium. And if the world as a whole were to follow that example, all fossil fuel–fired power plants could be replaced with nuclear facilities in a little over 30 years. That's the conclusion of a new nuclear grand plan published May 13 in PLoS One. Such a switch would drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nearly achieving much-ballyhooed global goals to combat climate change. Even swelling electricity demands, concentrated in developing nations, could be met. All that's missing is the wealth, will and wherewithal to build hundreds of fission-based reactors, largely due to concerns about safety and cost.

    "If we are serious about tackling emissions and climate change, no climate-neutral source should be ignored," argues Staffan Qvist, a physicist at Uppsala University, who led the effort to develop this nuclear plan. "The mantra 'nuclear can't be done quickly enough to tackle climate change' is one of the most pervasive in the debate today and mostly just taken as true, while the data prove the exact opposite."

    The data Qvist and his co-author Barry Brook, an ecologist and computer modeler at the University of Tasmania, used comes from two countries in Europe: Sweden and France. The Swedes began research to build nuclear reactors in 1962 in a bid to wean the country off burning oil for power as well as to protect rivers from hydroelectric dams. By 1972, the first boiling water reactor at Oskarshamn began to host fission and churn out electricity. The cost was roughly $1,400 per kilowatt of electric capacity (in 2005 dollars), which is cheap compared to the $7,000 per kilowatt of electric capacity of two new advanced nuclear reactors being built in the U.S. right now. By 1986, with the addition of 11 more reactors, half of Sweden's electricity came from nuclear power and carbon dioxide emissions per Swede had dropped by 75 percent compared to the peak in 1970.


  • Long-delayed action on the health risks of mercury produced by U.S. coal power plants will have to wait even longer, as the Supreme Court decided today that federal authorities failed to properly weigh the benefits of regulation against the costs.

    Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the opinion for a 5-4 majority, said that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) acted unreasonably when it deemed cost “irrelevant” to the question of whether or not to regulate hazardous power plant pollution.

    The decision blocks enforcement of rules that just went into effect this past April after decades of study, lawsuits, and political wrangling through four administrations

  • Reply to

    ORNL Cuts ACP Funding by 60%

    by lewis_whokeyser Sep 11, 2015 8:44 PM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Sep 11, 2015 8:50 PM Flag

    The new contract will cover the period from October 1, 2015, to September 30, 2016, with the possibility for additional extensions. It excludes continued operations of America’s only operating cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon, Ohio. Funding will be reduced by approximately 60 percent to $35 million per year, and the scope of activities will be limited to development activities in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

    “While obviously we are disappointed by the decision to significantly downsize America’s advanced centrifuge program, we appreciate the Laboratory’s recognition that the technology has been effectively demonstrated over the last two years of hard work at Piketon,” said Centrus Vice President Steve Penrod, who oversees the American Centrifuge program for the company. “We will work with the Laboratory and with Congress to protect as much of the core capabilities of the program as possible so that the technology will remain ready for deployment when the U.S. government calls upon it for national security purposes.”

    “In the coming weeks, we will explore options to protect the technology and our workers in Ohio, whose expertise, creativity, and dedication represent an invaluable asset for the Nation,” said Daniel B. Poneman, president and CEO of Centrus. “Cuts to our workforce would impose hardship on families and communities, while jeopardizing future progress. We will do all that we can to ease transitions while preserving as much of our scientific, technical, and industrial expertise as we can with the available funding.”

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Sep 11, 2015 8:44 PM Flag

    ORNL Will Extend Centrus’ Contract for Advanced Uranium Enrichment Centrifuge Research at Reduced Level
    Will extend contract for one year
    Funding cut by approximately 60 percent
    Continues technology development activities at Oak Ridge facilities
    Revenue used for Piketon operations discontinued
    Reduction in funding may require layoffs

    This is my 3rd attempt at posting. Yahoo keeps blocking it.

  • Columbus Dispatch:
    WASHINGTON — The Department of Energy is recommending pulling the plug on the Piketon uranium enrichment project.

    Lawmakers Friday received word that the Energy Department has decided to end a contract to test and demonstrate new uranium centrifuge technology that Ohio lawmakers had hoped would be a boon for southern Ohio’s economy. The Energy Department decision would essentially stop the centrifuges from spinning while preserving them for possible future use.

    The news came one day after Centrus, the company that operates the plant, announced that it was issuing notices to 235 workers at the plant warning them that they might be out of a job in 60 days.

    It’s also another tough blow for southern Ohio. In August, 1,400 Fluor-BWXT employees doing cleanup at the nearby former Department of Energy site received layoff notices as well. A spokesman for the company later said that more than 500 may ultimately be laid off.

    “I am stunned by today's announcement by the Administration that they are pulling the plug on our country's uranium enrichment project,” said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. “This news is a major blow to the Piketon community and southeast Ohio and yet another broken promise by this Administration.”

    “This is beyond belief,” said Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Cincinnati, whose district includes the project. He called the decision “a shameful and unilateral move by Department of Energy to walk away from a longstanding investment.”

    “This administration has unnecessarily and inexplicably inflicted more pain and uncertainty on the hardworking people of Pike County and Southern Ohio,” he said.

    The current contract for the proposed uranium centrifuge runs out Sept. 30.

    In an email, the Department of Energy said while they are interested in “preserving and advancing” the Piketon technology “for possible future deployment for a national security mission,” it will focus its efforts on activities at another nuclear site in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

  • Reply to

    Charles Schwab stock summary reports...

    by vulcanfire Sep 7, 2015 8:30 PM
    lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Sep 8, 2015 3:48 PM Flag

    Schabb has bad numbers. It should be $29.05 rather than $529.00. Maybe the 5 migrated to the front?
    From the LEU qrtrly Income Statement
    Revenue (ttm): 475.40M
    Revenue Per Share (ttm): 46.61
    Qtrly Revenue Growth (yoy): -47.80%
    Gross Profit (ttm): -41.30M
    EBITDA (ttm)6: -23.50M
    Net Income Avl to Common (ttm): 346.10M
    Diluted EPS (ttm): 29.05

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Sep 3, 2015 12:26 PM Flag

    Every time I think LEU has established a new "trading range" it breaks out or breaks down. Very little institutional investment, so the stock is news-driven and emotion-driven. Given increasing SWU supplies and declining SWU prices, can even the ACP save it?

    President Obama went to Alaska at the height of summer and solemnly announced we had to stop the snow from melting or humanity was doomed. Maybe they should invite him back in February...

  • (CNN)Does melting snow on the roof of buildings signify a major increase in North Korea's uranium enrichment activities?

    The security analysis firm IHS believes it probably does, highlighting satellite imagery of the country's main nuclear complex in a new report.

    The analysts say they think North's Korea's Yongbyon nuclear center now has a second hall housing a large number of active centrifuges, a type of device used for uranium enrichment.

    It may seem like a leap to get from melting snow to complex machinery, but North Korea watchers often have to resort to such clues to try to glean insights into the regime's secretive nuclear program.

    "What we suggest is that North Korea has just begun to double its centrifuge enrichment capability," said Karl Dewey, the proliferation editor at IHS Jane's Intelligence Review, which produced the report.

    The centrifuges could be working toward the production of civilian nuclear energy, the report notes, but they could also be used to enrich uranium for nuclear bombs.

  • PIKETON— Centrus Energy Corp. recently provided a $1,000 corporate donation to the Scioto County Homeless Shelter in Portsmouth, which is operated by Operation Safety Net. Angie Duduit (left), public affairs manager at the American Centrifuge Plant, presented the check to Maureen Cadogan, executive director.
    Operation Safety Net provides shelter for the homeless until they are able to assist them in securing safe, decent and affordable housing. It also provides services to its clients such as educational enrichment, access to GED study programs and testing, support by a network of social service providers and classes in budget management, nutrition education, daily living skills, job seeking skills, parenting classes and literacy skills.
    “We admire the compassion and commitment by Maureen and the Operation Safety Net organization to provide this assistance that is so vital to the local community,” said Jim Lewis, general manager at the American Centrifuge Plant.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Aug 28, 2015 7:19 AM Flag

    Most people thinking about energy policy in Europe tend to focus on the renewable power the continent generates. While it is certainly true that many European countries have made enormous strides in renewable energy generation, there is another fuel source that is unusually important in many European countries compared to the rest of the world; nuclear power.

    Sweden is a prime example of this. The country generates almost 35 percent of its electricity from nuclear power – just shy of the amount that it generates from all renewable sources combined. It was big news and more than a little surprising then when Swedish utility company Vattenfall announced earlier this year it was closing its Ringhals 1 and 2 nuclear reactors.

    The company shut down the reactors in response to a combination of relatively low wholesale power prices and the announcement by the Swedish government that taxes on nuclear power would increase starting in August. Nuclear power is in fact a greener technology than conventional renewables.

    The shutdown of nuclear reactors can even lead to more carbon emissions and of course higher electricity prices as supply of wholesale electricity declines and remaining conventional fossil fuel plants find that it is more profitable to ramp up output.

    That issue aside though, Vattenhall’s decision highlights an under-the-radar industry disruption taking place around the world. Sweden has been a bit dubious of nuclear power for decades, but the current shutdown is an economic decision as much as a political one. As governments around the world have opted to subsidize renewable power while taxing other forms of power, renewable supplies have increased. This supply increase in turn has pushed down wholesale power prices, which has led to lower profits for conventional utility companies. Then as renewable use has expanded, production costs have fallen dramatically leading to still more investment in renewables, greater supply and even more pain for utility compa

  • lewis_whokeyser lewis_whokeyser Aug 27, 2015 9:01 AM Flag

    For a nuclear "renaissance" in the US we need to get construction costs down by removing the regulatory burden and we need a place to ship spent fuel.
    Maybe after the next election we can designate one of the Hawaiian Islands...

    Of course "spent" fuel isn't really "spent". A breeder reactor would happily run on it for years to come. Let's hope the next president reverses the Carter-era mistake that outlawed fuel-efficient reactors
    We can reallocate the money from solar, wind, and ethanol subsidies.

  • For Centrus to succeed, SWU costs have to increase and they have to complete the ACP. Here's the expected demand growth for nuclear power:

    The global nuclear reactor construction market is expected to rise by 5.22 percent during the 2014-2019 period, announced analytic firm Research and Markets on Tuesday.

    Nuclear construction siteThe global value of the market rose by nearly $1.5 billion in from 2013 to 2014, climbing from $32.64 billion in 2013 to $34.13 billion in 2014, according to the newly published “Global Nuclear Reactor Construction Market 2015-2019” report.

    “The analysts forecast the global nuclear reactor construction market to grow at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of 5.22 percent during 2014-2019,” the report says.

    The market size is calculated based on the investment in the market and does not include costs associated with the maintenance and service of nuclear reactors.

  • lewis_whokeyser by lewis_whokeyser Aug 20, 2015 7:00 AM Flag

    Uranium miners hit especially hard 

    LEU -1.53% $3.85
    URRE -7.17% $0.8539
    UEC -6.40% $1.17
    DNN -5.85% $0.4896
    CCJ -2.18% $13.88
    URZ 0.00% $1.05

28.78+0.24(+0.84%)Oct 9 4:02 PMEDT