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UK government weighs up nuclear power options

November 11, 2020

UK government weighs up nuclear power options

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is tipped to decide the fate of the UK’s nuclear power industry in a meeting later this month.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is tipped to decide the fate of the UK’s nuclear power industry in a meeting later this month.

The meeting comes as the British government prepares to release a new 10-point plan for reducing carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. The plan is expected to be published within the next week.

Mr Johnson has long been a strong supporter of nuclear power, telling parliament he believes “Nuclear power is a significant potential contributor to our net zero ambitions,” back in July.

The November meeting – with Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (effectively the treasurer) and business secretary Alok Sharma – will see the senior cabinet members discuss the role nuclear will play in decarbonising the UK’s power network. They will also discuss which form a net zero electricity supply will take.

It’s widely reported that the government is now close to approving the £20 billion Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk. The application to build the station was accepted for exminiation by the UK Planning Inspectorate in late June.

The meeting of key UK politicians follows US Democratic Party Presidential Elect Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential race over the weekend. Mr Biden has pledged support for nuclear power in his US$1.7 trillion climate change policy.

 

Australian explorers ready themselves

These developments place the UK and the US in line with other major global powers like China in signalling support for nuclear power.

Amid this growing interest, Australian listed uranium explorer Marenica Energy (ASX: MEY) is further developing its 94.4 million pound uranium resources – including a recently discovered 30km-long stretch of mineralisation at the Hirabeb tenement in Namibia.

Speaking on a Reach Markets webcast in October, CEO Murray Hill said the growing demand for uranium could push the price of the yellow metal up as producers look to get a fair price for the nuclear feedstock.

 

“The world needs uranium production but the only way for that to happen is to get the price to move,” he said.

“The world’s nuclear reactors need a supply of uranium but it’s not going to happen at the current price. Production has not met demand for a few years and won’t do anytime soon unless uranium producers are incentivised to develop projects,” he added.

 

Marenica also recently completed proof-of-concept testing on a patented beneficiation process developed in with the CSIRO, called U-pgradeTM.

Initial testing at the company’s Angela project site in the Northern Territory showed the U-pgradeTM process reduced acid consumption by up to 77% – which the company says could significantly reduce operating costs.

 

“The results indicate U-pgradeTM can reduce acid consumption from 104 kilgroms per tonne [of ore] to 24 kilograms per tonne, demonstrating significant operating cost savings,” Mr Hill said.

“These results indicate that, following application of U-pgradeTM, Angela potentially becomes economically viable at a significantly lower uranium price,” he said.

 

Please join us for an upcoming Investor Briefing with Marenica Energy Managing Director Murray Hill on Friday 13th November at 12pm AEDT. Book here.

 

 

Reach Markets have been engaged by MEY to help manage their investor communications. As the advisers assisting in the management with their Share Purchase Plan (SPP), Reach Markets may receive fees depending on whether the SPP is taken up by investors.

 

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