Once there was a time when America bestrode the nuclear world as a colossus. Names such as Einstein, Oppenheimer, Manhattan Project helped to win World War 2 and contribute to many peacetime applications as well. Over the ensuing decades the United States allowed other nations to take the lead in the development of nuclear power.
Recently I wrote an article depicting the French Leader Sarkozy celebrating the multi-billion dollar agreement with India to build a new generation of safe nuclear reactors for the next 25 years. We have a become a nation asleep at the switch while the world is developing cheap, non carbon electricity. Many countries, especially Asian nations are building reactors with many proposed to come online in the future. France is the world leader building facilities in England, Finland, China, Italy and India among others. Even countries rich with oil such as Saudi Arabia and Iran have goals of building nuclear power generation. Doesn’t that show the winds of change are blowing?
Jeff Immelt, Ceo of General Electric (GE), has gone on record to decry the snails pace at which nuclear plant construction is proceeding in the United States. He noted that we are building only one plant at a time of mass unemployment and mounting national debt.
Additional new nuclear plants are springing up elsewhere. South Korea gets a significant amount of electricity from nuclear and Korea Electric Power (KEP) has been competing with giants for nuclear plant construction. Taiwan is beefing up its power grid by going nuclear as well. The Russians have signed nuclear agreements with Iran, China, Venezuela and Nigeria. Yet we dragged our feet. It is apparent that America has no time to lose in the nuclear race.
Actually this crisis presents a singular opportunity for alert readers to make large profits in a rapidly growing sector catalyzed by volatile world developments. Under our very noses we are witnessing the possible loss of our oil supplies via such threats of the closure of the naval chokehold, Suez and Hormuz. There was little coverage over the weekend of the explosion in Northern Sinai of the Egyptian-Israel-Lebanon-Jordan natural gas pipeline by terrorists and believe a renewed interest will arise in light of recent events in the Middle East. Now investors are celebrating Mubarek’s departure, however a leaderless nation with a power vacuum may be the perfect environment for a geopolitical explosion.
I propose the following 7 step program to rebuild our nuclear legacy and at the same time provide profitable opportunities for my readers.
- Overhauling the Federal Nuclear Loan Guarantee Program so that domestic mining companies such as UR-Energy (URG) and Uranerz (URZ),construction companies such as Shaw Group (SHAW) and ABB (ABB) and component suppliers are given reasonable and competitive repayment loans.
- Taking advantage of public sentiment, which is rising in favor of the expansion of nuclear energy to power our growing need for electricity. This outreach will help to relieve our dependence on foreign fossil fuels. Nuclear can provide an inexpensive source of energy for many years for the benefit of our homes, businesses and environment.
- The building of new plants will create many high paying, skilled jobs in mining, plant construction, engineering, and ancillary industries that make components that go into these facilities.
- Such a national reawakening would make us competitors internationally and help to reduce our growing trade deficits.
- Streamlining federal laws that will act to eliminate red tape and bureaucratic boondoggling that are now hindering the growth of these vital industries. For example Duke Energy (DUK)proposed purchase of Progressive Energy, a deal that would create the nation’s largest utility, already has stated that they would like to build new nuclear plants adding to the 12 units at seven sites in the Carolinas and Florida. They are actively seeking regulatory approval to build six new Westinghouse reactors. Such approval should be accelerated.
- New methods of nuclear waste disposal should be developed in the United States. The French have been pioneers in developing new methods of disposal of nuclear waste. For years they have been successfully recycling nuclear waste for usable energy through its Areva Corportion(ARVCF). It is time to disarm the critics of nuclear energy by changing the negative mindset resulting from Chernobyl and Three Mile Island.
- Critics of such new programs may say they are too costly. I maintain they would pay for themselves in new jobs for plant construction, engineering and mine development.
A final note should be mentioned concerning the private dinner held by President Obama of the U.S. and President Hu from China. A number of important partnerships were concluded at this meeting by companies such as Duke Energy, China Power Investment Corporation, Alcoa (AA) and Shenhua Group. It is interesting to note that Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa’s CEO, said that the Hu-Obama Summit helped push the joint initiative forward. He said if it was not for this private dinner, “The agreement would not have happened in a speedy fashion.”
The importance of such arrangements in which nuclear energy plays a vital role must not be overlooked. The platforms are in place. All that is needed is that the American legislators and administrators efficiently provide the stimulus to move the development of nuclear energy forward in order to reclaim our legacy.
Uranium prices are over $70 a pound as China, Russia and India look for clean and cheap energy solutions. I wrote an article back, “Is America Falling Asleep at the Switch With Uranium.” Since that time a lot of investors, utilities and legislators have awakened. President Obama signed an executive order to speed up mine development and streamline development in order to spur job growth. Energy independence and clean alternative energy is gaining popularity in Washington as evidenced by Obama’s recent State of the Union address. Uranium stocks have soared since my early October buy signal to readers. It is important to monitor the few juniors who are aggressively looking to grow their uranium pounds in the ground by possible acquisitions or exploration. What better time than now for these companies to expand their pounds in the ground.
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