Fuel cycle roundup #23

04 April 2014

Duke to sell surplus fuel

Seventy six unused fuel assemblies from the retired Crystal River nuclear power plant have been offered for sale by Duke Energy Florida. Bidders have until 30 June to respond to a request for proposals for the Areva-manufactured assemblies, with the successful bidder to be announced at the end of July.

Duke Energy announced the retirement of Crystal River in February 2013 after deciding not to go ahead with repairs to problems discovered in the unit's containment concrete. All proceeds from the sale of the fuel assemblies will be used to help offset the portion of the costs of closing the plant that would otherwise be borne by the utility's customers.

Uranium One in Kazakh litigation

Atomredmetzoloto (ARMZ) subsidiary Uranium One has announced that it is involved in litigation proceedings over subsoil use contracts for its Betpak Dala and Kyzylkum uranium joint ventures in Kazakhstan.

The issue centres on the original transfers of the contracts which took place in 2004 and 2005, two to three years before Uranium One acquired an interest in the joint ventures, which have now been ruled invalid by Kazakh courts. Both joint ventures intend to appeal the ruling. The company is in discussions with its joint venture partner, Kazakh state-owned nuclear company Kazatomprom, with a view to obtaining new subsoil use rights agreements, but says that Betpak Dala and Kyzylkum are putting in place temporary measures to enable normal business operations to continue in the meantime.

Early end for conversion agreement

Cameco has announced that it is ending a toll-conversion agreement to process up to 5 million kilograms of uranium per year at the UK's Springfields conversion facility on 31 December 2014. Actual production under the contract will cease by the end of August.

The 2005 agreement to convert uranium trioxide from the Blind River refinery in Canada into the uranium hexafluoride needed to manufacture reactor fuel had been due to expire in 2016, and Cameco is to pay CAD18 million ($16 million) to Springfields Fuels Ltd for the early termination of the agreement. Citing the current weak market for uranium conversion, Cameco CEO Tim Gitzel said the company could meet its customer requirements from its own Port Hope conversion facility and from better utilisation of existing assets.

Forte acquires Slovak assets

Uranium exploration company Forte Energy is to buy the Kuriskova and Novoveska Huta uranium projects in Slovakia from European Uranium Resources. The sale price of European Uranium Resources' only remaining mineral projects is equivalent to approximately CAD8.5 million ($77 million).

Kuriskova and Novoveska Huta have between them an estimated 57.6 million pounds U3O8 (22,200 tU) in NI 43-101 compliant mineral resources, which Forte will add to its existing portfolio of 44.9 million pounds U3O8 (17,300 tU) of JORC-compliant uranium resources in Mauritania and Guinea.

Rare earths MoU for Greenland

Greenland Minerals and Energy Ltd (GMEL) has signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) with China Non‐Ferrous Metal Industry’s Foreign Engineering and Construction Co Ltd (NFC) setting out a framework for cooperation towards establishing rare earth production at the Kvanefjeld Project.

Definitive feasibility studies are under way at Kvanefjeld, which GMEL says has one of the world's largest resources of both rare earths and uranium. The project is scheduled to enter the permitting phase in late 2014. The deposit has JORC-compliant indicated and inferred uranium resources of over 221,000 tU.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News