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Posts Tagged ‘Wall Street’


Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

At least one group of observers seems to think the Nuclear Renaissance has legs – Wall Street investors.
“ETFs, Stocks Soaring in Nuclear Power Sector: These ETFs and stocks are powered by the new nuclear revolution,” says InvestorPlace, an online investment advice service. ETFs are “exchange traded funds” put together by various brokerage companies.

“Nuclear is soaring and the sector has the wind at its back,” exudes InvestorPlace. “Energy costs are on the rise, nuclear power demand is going to grow, utility stocks are close to recent highs and the economy is no longer expected to slip back into the red. There are several drivers, and several ETFs and major companies that are set to benefit.”

The site lists three mutual funds that seem to be riding the renaissance wave:

·        PowerShares Global Nuclear ETF (NYSE: PKN)

·        Market Vectors Nuclear Energy (NYSE: NLR)

·        iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index (NASDAQ: NUCL)

In addition, InvestorPlace recommends two companies that will be familiar to people in the nuclear industry:

·        Cameco Corp. (NYSE: CCJ), and

·        USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU)

Both have recently hit 52-week highs. USEC, of course, is currently waiting to hear whether it will receive a federal loan guarantee for construction of a state-of-the-art centrifuge uranium enrichment plant in Ohio.

Just to round out the fuel cycle, InvestorPlace also recommends Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE: URA), an ETF that tracks the Solactive Global Uranium Index.

Critics say Wall Street won’t fund the Nuclear Renaissance, but the stock market seems to be saying something different.

Read more at Investor Place



Wednesday, September 15th, 2010

Based on informal soundings from our industry, Wall Street and government sources along with more objective calibrations of key factors such as financing; balance sheet; NRC license status; design certification; market support and electricity demand; engineering procurement and construction contracts; and politics and public acceptance – not necessarily in that order – the Renaissance Power Ranking has been culled into a competitive top ten.
Leading the list to no one’s surprise is Southern Nuclear’s Vogtle Plant units 3 and 4.  The accomplished but largely overshadowed URENCO USA enrichment facility, which went live in June, slides into the number two position with the equally unheralded Tennessee Valley Authority, which is hoping to complete construction on two units (Watts Bar Two and Bellafonte One) in the next ten years, filling the third slot in the Power Ranking.
In an eye-brow raising twist, Dominion Energy’s North Anna unit three (#4) outpaces the loan guarantee-challenged Calvert Cliffs and South Texas Project.
Rounding out the Top 10 are AREVA’s Eagle Rock enrichment plant, V.C. Summer units two and three, Duke Energy’s Lee project and the newest kid on the block – a dead heat between small modular reactor proponents Babcock & Wilcox’s mPower and upstart NuScale SMR.

1. Southern Vogtle III & IV
Loan guarantees in place. Solid and steady.  Shovels in the group
2. URENCO USA Enrichment Facility
Kick-started in June and headed toward 5.7 million SWU capacity. First new U.S. enrichment capacity in 30 years.
3. TVA Watts Bar II, Bellafonte I

The Rodney Dangerfield of the nuclear industry but thousands of boots on the ground and on-target.  $248 million earmarked for Bellafonte jumpstart
4. Dominion Energy North Anna III
Moving up fast.  Rate-based.  Rock solid credentials. Very competitive EPC contract.  Uncertified technology.
5. UniStar Calvert Cliffs III
Merchant plant but potentially deep pockets.  Loan guarantee complications.  Low natural gas prices and no carbon pricing are issue along with lowered load growth.
6. South Texas Project
Merchant plant but proven technology. See Calvert Cliffs issues.
7. AREVA Eagle Rock enrichment plant
Loan guarantee in place; proven centrifuge technology. Deep pockets. Strong state support.
8. South Carolina Electric & Gas V.C. Summer II & III

Wavering. Small utility aiming to play major leagues. Good political support.  Lowered load growth.

9. Duke Energy Lee Station
Blue chip utility. Load growth delayed. No carbon pricing.
10. Small Modular Reactors: B&W mPower; NuScale SMR
Feel the love.  David v. Goliath. Customer challenged.
BEST OF THE REST:  Illuminant Comanche Peak; Progress Shaeron Harris; AREVA-Northrop Grumman manufacturing; USEC American Centrifuge; GE-Hitachi Laser Enrichment


Monday, August 9th, 2010

If you want to follow what happened to the banking system and Wall Street in 2008, you have to go way back to the days in the 1970s when the federal government was urging banks to open up the housing market and the banks were complying.
It took the better part of two decades for the whole thing to come home to roost. So it may be with the renewable energy meltdown. But you can see it taking shape in its early stages right at this moment in The St. Petersburg Times.
In a long, front-pate analysis, the Times laments the “cloudy times for solar energy’s future.” The premise is that it is being held up by politics – or rather the failure of politicians to push it fast enough. Governor Charlie Crist is promoting solar as the solution to the problems raised by the Gulf oil spill. He is being opposed by a state legislature reluctant to commit the hundreds of millions of dollars necessary to get the revolution started.
The most revealing fact in the article is this. California (which has been at this since the 1980s) leads the nation by producing 768 megawatts of direct current through solar electricity. New Jersey is in second place with 127.5 MW. Florida, for all its efforts so far, generate only 38.7 MW. Even these dimension have been achieved only by making consumers pay three and four times as much for solar electricity – or finding some way to subsidize it.
More than half the states have renewable portfolio standards that have mandated huge amounts of investment into renewable projects. But 90 percent of what has been built is windmills – which has made wind the fastest growing form of generation in the country. Even with a legislative mandate, solar is far too expensive and land consuming, so that many states are now adding a separate solar mandate as well. But none of this takes into account whether all this investment is producing any useful electricity. Solar and wind will require extensive backup – almost certainly from expensive natural gas turbines.
Where does nuclear fit into all this?  The article does take one swipe, criticizing the state legislature for allowing Florida Power & Light to incorporate construction costs into its rate base for two new reactors at Turkey Point. But it somehow fails to mention that the incorporation was rejected by the Florida Public Service Commission in January and FP&L has since suspended work on the project.
One day this will all come crashing down and the country will be stuck with not enough electricity and huge misinvestment in useless renewable projects. It’s inevitable when politics completely overrides economics.

Read more at the St. Petersburg Times

TURNING JAPANESE? Tokyo Electric to buy 9.2% of South Texas nuclear project

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

One of the most common criticisms of the Nuclear Renaissance these days is that “we can’t afford it.”  “Wall Street won’t invest,” the argument goes. “It’s too risky and expensive. That’s why it needs government help.”

But there’s a third option that naysayers never consider but is shaping up to be the answer. Foreign countries will invest. That’s what happened this week in Texas.

Tokyo Electric Company – an electric utility, not a nuclear construction company – invested $125 million for a 9.2 percent share of the South Texas project in which Nuclear Innovation North America, a consortium headed by NRG Energy of Princeton, N.J.

The 1,350-megawatt reactor is already being built by Toshiba, which has inherited the Westinghouse nuclear franchise. Tokyo Electric had been offering technical assistance and decided to take a share – an unusual move by American standards. Imagine Southern California Edison taking a share in a reactor in Japan!  They’ve got enough trouble already building useless renewable energy projects to satisfy deluded California politicians.

The deal is both good news and bad news for the American nuclear effort. The good news is foreign countries will provide the needed capital. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Middle Eastern sovereign wealth companies investing soon. This is the way we built the railroads in the early 1800s, mostly with European capital.

The bad news is the U.S. failure to develop nuclear power has put us back where we were in 1820 – a relatively undeveloped country that needs foreign assistance to build its infrastructure. It could be worse. It could be we aren’t building anything at all.

Read more at Business Week

William Tucker