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This Small-Town Vote Could Be A Boost For Uranium

Another important step for the uranium market took place last week. With a key vote in Japan paving the way for the first restart of nuclear reactors in the country.

That came in the town of Satsumasendai, southwest of Tokyo. An area that hosts the Sendai nuclear power plant--made up of three reactors. All of which have been off-line since the Tohoku earthquake in March 2011.

But Satsumasendai's town council wants to change that. With a vote last week seeing 19 out of 26 council members vote in favour of restarting two reactors here.

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Despite protests against the Sendai plant, the vote vas decisive--with only four council members voting against a nuclear restart. Three members abstained from the vote.

The decision is a key part of the restart process for the Sendai plant. Which received a positive safety evaluation from the Japanese Nuclear Regulation Authority in early September.

A potential restart here won't be immediate. With further safety checks still being required for the Sendai plant. The move must also go to a vote at the prefecture level (akin to a state government).

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Assuming the plant clears those hurdles, it appears the two reactors here could come back online in early 2015. Which would be a historic event for both Japan's nuclear sector--and for the uranium market, where Japanese demand is a key driver for prices.

Of course, the lift in demand from just two reactors is likely to be minor. But a restart would be a symbolic victory for uranium--and could start an updraft in sentiment across the sector. Especially if it sets the stage for more reactors coming online next year.

Watch for final details on the Sendai safety checks, as well as the all-important prefecture vote. We'll then see about final timing for the restart here.

Here's to firing them up,
Dave Forest

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