Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Paladin Energy PT Raised to C$0.70 at TD Securities (PDN)

Published on Wednesday January 22 2014 (AEST)  

Equities researchers at TD Securities hoisted their price objective on shares of Paladin Energy (TSE:PDN) from C$0.60 to C$0.70 in a research report issued on Tuesday, American Banking and Market News reports. The firm currently has a “hold” rating on the stock. TD Securities’ target price would indicate a potential upside of 16.67% from the stock’s previous close.

Paladin Energy (TSE:PDN) traded down 8.33% on Tuesday, hitting $0.55. The stock had a trading volume of 2,006,448 shares. Paladin Energy has a one year low of $0.375 and a one year high of $1.30. The stock has a 50-day moving average of $0.45 and a 200-day moving average of $0.54. The company’s market cap is $529.8 million.

Other equities research analysts have also recently issued reports about the stock. Analysts at Scotiabank raised their price target on shares of Paladin Energy from C$0.55 to C$0.60 in a research note to investors on Friday. They now have a “sector perform” rating on the stock. 

Analysts at Raymond James reiterated a “market perform” rating on shares of Paladin Energy in a research note to investors on Wednesday, January 15th. They now have a C$0.50 price target on the stock. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, five have assigned a hold rating and two have given a buy rating to the stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of C$1.07.

Paladin Energy Ltd (TSE:PDN) is a uranium production company with projects in Australia and two operating mines in Africa.

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Monday, January 20, 2014

Paladin Energy Sells 25% Stake In Langer Heinrich Uranium Mine

Published on Monday January 20 2014 (AEST)

China's Top Nuclear firm to buy stake in Australian Company's Uranium Mine in Namibia

China National Nuclear Corporation has agreed to buy a 25 per cent stake in Australian miner Paladin Energy’s uranium mine in Namibia for US$190 million, locking in supplies as Beijing builds new nuclear plants for cleaner energy.
CNNC is the bigger of two state-owned nuclear power conglomerates, controlling nine of the country’s 17 reactor units and working on an ambitious reactor construction programme to help China ease its dependence on coal-fired power.

The firm has agreed to buy a quarter of the production from the Langer Heinrich mine, which has a capacity of 5.2 million pounds of uranium concentrate a year, and has the option to buy further supplies from Paladin at market rates.

“I do believe, through the investment in the Langer Heinrich project, CNNC and Paladin will develop a long-lasting business relationship which is beneficial to each other and also bring long-term influence to the global uranium mining industry,” CNNC director general for geology and mining Du Yunbin said in a statement.

This is China’s second foray into uranium in Namibia, following China Guangdong Nuclear Power’s US$2.3 billion acquisition of the Husab project, one of the world’s biggest uranium deposits, in 2012.

The deal will help stabilise Paladin following three years of pain as uranium prices have sagged in the wake of Japan’s Fukushima disaster, which killed Japanese demand for the mineral and led to other countries halting nuclear expansion plans.

“The significant cash injection from this minority interest sale will largely be applied to debt reduction, which the board considers an essential step during a time of unprecedented low uranium prices,” Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said in a statement.

CNNC’s acquisition is subject to approvals from Chinese authorities, including the National Development and Reform Commission, which Paladin said were expected to be obtained by the middle of the year.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Paladin Energy Partial Uranium Mine sale expected in Coming Days

 Published on Thursday January 16 2014 (AEST)


Paladin Energy said talks around the sale of its Langer Heinrich uranium mine were progressing as the price for uranium begins to improve.

Strong interest from a variety of parties to sell a minority interest in Langer Heinrich continues. Paladin offers a unique platform in the uranium supply sector generating competition from the nuclear industry for an association both for current production and future growth. 

Paladin has confidence in an outcome which will alleviate  shareholder concerns regarding debt, noting the next tranche of Convertible Bonds is not due until November 2015.

The Perth-based miner flagged its intentions to sell its stake in the African mine in August when it announced a raft of cost-cutting measures to combat the weakening price of uranium.
While it was widely thought a deal would be inked before Christmas, Paladin chief executive John Borshoff said more details would become available in the next few weeks, The West Australian reported.
"Things are progressing and we will see what the next month or so will bring," he said.

The company’s quarterly report is due this week, but yesterday Paladin released an update for its Manyingee deposit, 80km east of Onslow.

The project has been upgraded, with the company reporting it now holds an inferred and indicated resource of 25.9 million pounds at an average grade of 850ppm, making it WA's fifth largest uranium project.
While Borshoff the project was a long-term play for the miner, he said the stubbornly low uranium price meant all new developments had been put on the backburner.

"It's unsustainable at the moment," Borshoff said.
"Everyone has declared a moratorium on new projects. It's all hanging by a thread and at some point this year it has got to turn."

Last year the company made a $US173 million loss in the three months to June.
Paladin signalled it would slash corporate and exploration costs by $US10.8 million, a 24 per cent reduction.
While capital expenditure will be cut by $US12.4 million over the next two financial years.

The miner said production costs have fallen 12 per cent at Langer Heinrich, with further targets aimed at reducing this to 15 per cent.

While cash costs at Kayelekera have dropped by 20 per cent, with the company aiming for a 22 per cent target.

article edited

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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Uranium bull market to gather steam over next 18 months - Scotiabank

Published on Wednesday January 15 2014 (AEST)

Scotiabank analysts make noise on the uranium drum, drawing a what-if supply/price picture if Japan restarts reactors

Scotiabank analysts are bullish uranium. 

They have been for some time. As we noted in early 2013, Patricia Mohr, Scotiabank's vice-president economics and commodity market specialist, made the case that uranium prices, decimated by the 2011 Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster, would rebound mid-decade. It's not a position that has changed. In her latest commodities report on December 19, 2013 she labelled uranium a "turnaround story" for the mid-2010s. Her thesis - as outlined at the AME BC Roundup conference last year - is heavily contingent on three factors: decreasing sources of stockpiled uranium, increasing reactor builds in China and restarting reactors in Japan, still on idle after the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear disaster in 2011, which decimated uranium prices.

The first two parameters are better known entities. Stockpiles have dropped. China is building reactors. But the third is a more fraught issue. It's an open question if, or (perhaps more realistically) how many, reactors Japan will restart. It's a contentious subject in Japan given justifiable fears over nuclear contamination following the Fukushima disaster.

Still, that some nuclear power plant will come back online, seems quite possible. According to The Japan Times Japan's government led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has called nuclear power an "important baseload power source." The high cost of importing fuels reportedly has power companies pushing hard to clear the way for some reactor restarts. Bloomberg counts some 16 applications for permission to do so under stiffer regulations enacted last year.

 And if they do restart?

Again over at Scotiabank, analyst Ben Isaacson takes the view that supply/demand will tighten and prices will rise. In a recent note, he plotted his view - in some detail - of uranium prices and producer shareprices assuming Japan restarts 10 reactors in the next 18 months and more thereafter. Isaacson sees contract uranium prices - down 30 percent from 2011 to around $50 a pound in recent months - climbing to $59 a pound, on average, this year and rising to $78 a pound by 2017. Spot prices, likewise, climb to $39 a pound this year and hit $70 pound in 2017.

"Without rising demand, the uranium price would likely stabilize at the current level since we are in a temporary supply-driven market," Isaacson noted. "However, our base-case demand outlook sees an incremental 34 million lb U3O8 needed annually by 2020." That's the effect of Japan restarts and new Chineses reactors coming online.

Longterm uranium prices after Cameco monthly averages. Graph: Kip Keen
Isaacson makes an interesting point on the uranium investment sector. "Simply put, there aren't many ways to play the space, which we like to see." As evidence of that, he notes that excepting Areva, which you might consider more a nuclear company and less a miner, Canadian uranium-miner Cameco is the only large-cap uranium play. 

Thus, in initiating coverage, Isaacson covers some of the usual suspects. Cameco gets a $27 a share target; Denison Mines: $1.80; Paladin: $0.55; and Uranium Participation (a uranium stockpiler): $6.75.

He concludes: "However investors choose to play this niche commodity, we believe patience will be rewarded as we forecast a bull market (beginning) to form over the next 18 months. Accordingly, we think investors should position for a recovery."
But much, as ever, depends on what Japan decides to do with its idled reactors. Developments there must be watched closely.


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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Fukushima - The Anti Nuclear Scare Campaign Has Been Busted

 Published on Wednesday January 08 2014 (AEST)

I  certainly do hope that many people view  this video, and  the World finally realizes the untruths that the Anti Nuclear brigade have circulated over the past 3 years ! 

Well done JAIF for putting this informative video together.

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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Fukushima The True facts about Ocean Radiation and the Fukushima Disaster

Published on Saturday January 04 2014 (AEST)


On March 11th, 2011 the Tōhoku earthquake and resulting tsunami wreaked havoc on Japan. It also resulted in the largest nuclear disaster since Chernobyl when the tsunami damaged the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. Radioactive particles were released into the atmosphere and ocean, contaminating groundwater, soil and seawater which effectively closed local Japanese fisheries.

Rather unfortunately, it has also led to some wild speculation on the widespread dangers of Fukushima radiation on the internet. Posts with titles like “Holy Fukushima – Radiation From Japan Is Already Killing North Americans” and ”28 Signs That The West Coast Is Being Absolutely Fried With Nuclear Radiation From Fukushima” (which Southern Fried Science has already throughly debunked ) keep popping up on my facebook feed from well-meaning friends.

I’m here to tell you that these posts are just plain garbage. While there are terrible things that happened around the Fukushima Power Plant in Japan;Alaska, Hawaii and the West Coast aren’t in any danger.  These posts were meant to scare people (and possibly written by terrified authors). They did just that, but there is a severe lack of facts in these posts. Which is why I am here to give you the facts, and nothing but the facts.


The radioactive rods in the Fukushima power plant are usually cooled by seawater [CORRECTION: they are usually cooled by freshwater. As a last ditch emergency effort at Fukushima seawater was used as a coolant.].

The double whammy of an earthquake and a tsunami pretty much released a s**tstorm of badness: the power went out, meltdown started and eventually the radioactive cooling seawater started leaking (and was also intentionally released) into the ocean. Radioactive isotopes were also released into the air and were absorbed by the ocean when they rained down upon it. These two pathways introduced mostly Iodine-131, Cesium-137, and Cesium-134, but also a sprinkling of Tellurium, Uranium and Strontium to the area surrounding the power plant.

There aren’t great estimates of how much of each of these isotopes were released into the ocean since TEPCO, the company that owns the power plant hasn’t exactly been forthcoming with information, but the current estimates are around 538,100 terabecquerels (TBq) which is above Three-Mile Island levels, but below Chernobyl levels. And as it turns out, they recently found contaminated groundwater has also started leaking into the sea. TEPCO, the gift that keeps on giving.


Units of Radiation are confusing. When you start reading the news/literature/blogs, there are what seems like a billion different units to explain radiation. But fear not, I’ve listed them below and what they mean (SI units first).

Becquerel[Bq] or Curie[Ci]: radiation emitted from a radioactive material  (1 Ci=3.7 × 1010 Bq)
Gray [Gy] or Rad[rad]: radiation absorbed by another material (1Gy=100 rad)
Sieverts[Sv]* or “roentgen equivalent in man”[rem]: how badly radiation will damage biological tissue (1 Sv=100 rem)

Simpsons Guide to Radiation 

You can convert from Grays and Rads to Rem and Sieverts, but you have to know what kind of radiation it is. For example alpha radiation from naturally occurring Polonium-210 is more damaging to biological tissues than gamma radiation from Cesium-137. Even if you absorbed the same number of Grays from Cesium or Polonium, you would still effectively receive more damaging radiation from Polonium because the number of Sieverts is higher for Polonium than Cesium. And kids, Sieverts and Seavers  are both dangerous to your health but please don’t confuse them.


Cesium-137 is product of nuclear fission. Before us humans, there was no Cesium-137 on earth. But then we started blowing stuff up with nuclear bombs and VOILA!, there are now detectable, but safe, levels of Cesium-137 in all the world oceans.


There are a bunch of maps being thrown around on the internet as evidence that we are all going to die from Fukushima radiation. I’m going to dissect them here. Apologies in advance for dose of snark in this section because some of these claims are just god awful. Spoiler: radiation probably has reached the West Coast but it’s not dangerous.

MAP OF TERROR #1: The Rays of Radioactive Death!

This is not a map of Fukushima Radiation spreading across the Pacific. This is a map of the estimated maximum wave heights of the Japanese Tohuku Tsunami by modelers at NOAA. In fact, tsunamis don’t even transport particles horizontally in the deep ocean. So there is no way a Tsunami could even spread radiation (except maybe locally at scales of several miles as the wave breaks onshore). Dear VC reporter, I regret to inform you this cover image could be the poster child for the importance of journalistic fact-checking for years to come.



I mean I guess this is a bit better. At least this map used an ocean model that actually predicts where radioactive particles will be pushed around by surface ocean currents. But it still gets a BIG FAT FAIL. The engineering company that put this image/piece of crap out there couldn’t even be bothered to put a legend on the map.

Their disclaimer says “THIS IS NOT A REPRESENTATION OF THE RADIOACTIVE PLUME CONCENTRATION.” Then what do the colors mean?



It’s true, oceanographic models have shown that radiation from Fukushima has probably already hit Aleutians and Hawaiian Island chain, and should reach the California Coast by Fall 2014 [Beherns et al. 2012]. The map above is showing the spread of Cesium-137 from the Fukushima reactor would look like right now, I mean radiation is apparently EVERYWHERE! But what is missing from most of the discussion of these maps is what  the colors ACTUALLY mean.

We shall now seek guidance from the little box in the upper right hand corner of the map called the legend**.  The colors show
how much less radioactive the the decrease in the radioactive concentrations of Cesium-137 isotopes
have becomesince being emitted from Fukushima. For example, the red areas indicate the Fukushima Cesium-137 is now more than 10,000 times less
radioactive concentrated than when released.

The California Coast, more than a million times less. The punchline is that overall concentrations of radioactive isotopes and therefore radioactivity in the Pacific will increase from Pre-Fukushima levels, but it will be way less than what was seen in coastal Japan and definitely not enough to be harmful elsewhere (we’ll get to more of that later).

** As Eve Rickert has thoughtfully pointed out, my description of the image is a little confusing. I’ve added corrections in blue to clarify.


Practically, what does ten thousand or a million times less radiation mean? It means that these models estimate the West Coast and the Aleutians will see radiation levels anywhere from 1-20 Bq/m3,while Hawaiian Islands could see up to 30 Bq/m[Beherns et al. 2012, Nakano et al. 2012,  Rossi et al. 2013].

I could write a small novel explaining why the numbers differ between the models. For those that love the details, here’s a laundry list of those differences: the amount of radiation initially injected into the ocean, the length of time it took to inject the radiation (slowly seeping or one big dump), the physics embedded in the model, the background ocean state, the number of 20-count shrimp per square mile (Just kidding!), atmospheric forcing, inter-annual and multi-decadal variability and even whether atmospheric deposition was incorporated into the model.

Like I said before, the West Coast will probably not see more than 20 Bq/mof radiation. Compare these values to the map of background radiation of Cesium-137 in the ocean before Fukushima (from 1990). Radiation will increase in the Pacific, but it’s at most 10 times higher than previous levels, not thousands. Although looking at this map I would probably stop eating Baltic Herring fish oil pills and Black Sea Caviar (that radiation is from Chernobyl) before ending the consumption of  fish from the Pacific Ocean.



No it will not be dangerous. Even within 300 km of Fukushima, the additional radiation that was introduced by the Cesium-137 fallout is still well below the background radiation levels from naturally occurring radioisotopes. By the time those radioactive atoms make their way to the West Coast it will be even more diluted and therefore not dangerous at all.

It’s not even dangerous to swim off the coast of Fukushima. Buessler et al. figured out how much radiation damage you would get if you doggie paddled about Fukushima (Yes, science has given us radioactive models of human swimmers). It was less than 0.03% of the daily radiation an average Japanese resident receives. Tiny! Hell, the radiation was so small even immediately after the accident scientists did not wear any special equipment to handle the seawater samples (but they did wear detectors just in case). If you want danger, you’re better off licking the dial on an old-school glow in the dark watch.


For the most part the answer is YES. Some fisheries in Japan are still closed because of radioactive contamination. Bottom fish are especially prone to contamination because the fallout collects on the seafloor where they live. Contaminated fish shouldn’t be making it to your grocery store, but I can’t guarantee that so if you are worried just eat fish from somewhere other than Japan.

Fish from the rest of the Pacific are safe. To say it mildly, most fish are kinda lazy. They really don’t travel that far so when you catch a Mahi Mahi off the coast of Hawaii its only going to be as contaminated as the water there, which isn’t very much.Hyperactive fish, such as tuna may be more radioactive than local lazy fish because they migrate so far. As Miriam pointed out in this post, there is a detectable increase of radiation in tuna because they were at one point closer to Fukushima, but the levels are not hazardous.

To alleviate fears that you may be glowing due to ingestion too many visits to your local sushi joint, Fischer et al. figured out exactly how much damaging radiation you would receive from eating a tower of tuna rolls. Seriously. Science is just that awesome. Supermarket tuna hunters would receive 0.9 μSv of radiation, while the outdoors subsistence tuna hunter would receive 4.7 μSv. These values are about the same or a little less than the amount a person receives from natural sources.

To put 0.9 μSv of radiation in perspective check out this awesome graph of radiation by xkcd. You’ll get the same amount of radiation by eating 9 bananas. Monkeys might be doomed, but you are not.


I hope this list of facts has answered most of your questions and convinced you the Pacific and its inhabitants will not be fried by radiation from Fukushima. I certainly feel safe eating sustainable seafood from the Pacific and so should you. If you are still unsure, please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.


There’s been a lot of discussion in the comments about the contribution from the groundwater leaks. I did some homework and here’s what I came up with. (Also thanks to everyone for the interesting discussions in the comments!)

The ground water leaks are in fact problematic, but what has been released into the ocean is MUCH less than the initial release (although I admit the groundwater itself has extremely high radiation levels).  The estimates from Jota Kanda are that 0.3 TBq per month (1012 Bq) of contaminated groundwater is leaking into the ocean, which has added another 9.6 TBq of radiation into the sea at most.  The initial releases were about 16.2 PBq (1015 Bq), about 1500 times more radiation. With this in mind, the additional radioactivity leak from ground water isn’t a relatively large addition to the ocean.

The models by Behrens and Rossi used initial source functions of 10 PBq and 22 PBq, which is on par with the most recent estimates.  Since their models used a much higher source function, that says to me that this relatively smaller input from groundwater still won’t raise the radioactivity to dangerous levels on the West Coast, Alaska and Hawaii.  Recent observations around Hawaii by Kamenik et al. also suggest that the models may have even overestimated the amount of radiation that hit Hawaii, which is good news.

But there are caveats to this information as well. The leaking groundwater contains strontium and tritium which are more problematic than Cesium-137. But it sounds like strontium accumulates in bones and is only problem if you eat small fish with the bones in, like sardines (and it will only affect sardines caught near Japan since they don’t travel far). I suspect there might be some precedent for understanding the dangers of tritium in seawater from the 20th century nuclear testing in atolls, but I really don’t know. There is also 95 TBq of radioactive cesium is in the sediment around Fukushima, which is still super problematic for bottom dwelling fish and therefore local Japanese Fisheries. Lastly, another source is terrestrial runoff. These numbers haven’t been quantified but they are probably minor because they contain a fraction of the total deposition from atmospheric fallout, which itself was a fraction of what was released into the ocean.

So even with the new groundwater leaks, the available evidence still tells me I can eat fish from the West Coast, Hawaii, and Alaska.

[DISCLAIMER: The creators of the NOAA tsunami map work in my building. I secretly fangirl squeal when I walk past their offices. I recently had coffee with Joke F. Lübbecke, who also works in my building. It was caffeinated.]

*Confusingly, oceanographers also co-opted the acronym Sv for Sverdrups their unit for volume transport. 1 Sverdrup=1 Sv=one million cubic metres per second=400 Olympic swimming pools just passed your house in one second.


Behrens, Erik, et al. “Model simulations on the long-term dispersal of 137Cs released into the Pacific Ocean off Fukushima.” Environmental Research Letters 7.3 (2012): 034004.

Buesseler, Ken O., et al. “Fukushima-derived radionuclides in the ocean and biota off Japan.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 109.16 (2012): 5984-5988.

Fisher, Nicholas S., et al. “Evaluation of radiation doses and associated risk from the Fukushima nuclear accident to marine biota and human consumers of seafood.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013).

Nakano, Masanao, and Pavel P. Povinec. “Long-term simulations of the 137 Cs dispersion from the Fukushima accident in the world ocean.“ Journal of environmental radioactivity 111 (2012): 109-115.

Rossi, Vincent, et al. “Multi-decadal projections of surface and interior pathways of the Fukushima Cesium-137 radioactive plume.“ Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers (2013).

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