Japan Nuclear Restart Is Psychological Boost, Cameco Says

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The first restart of a Japanese nuclear reactor since the 2011 Fukushima disaster will be “psychologically” important to the atomic industry, the world’s second-largest uranium producer said.

It’s been “four years and five months post Fukushima and almost two years since the last reactor was shut down,” Cameco Corp. Chief Executive Officer Tim Gitzel, 53, said Monday in a phone interview. The first restart “is very psychologically important for the whole industry, for Japan and the market.”

The head of the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan-based uranium miner said he doesn’t expect the restart to “move the needle” immediately on uranium demand in Japan, where utilities have accumulated significant stockpiles of the atomic fuel.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said Tuesday it restarted its Sendai No. 1 nuclear reactor and plans to begin generating power at the unit on Aug. 14.

The March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that wrecked the Fukushima Dai-Ichi station north of Tokyo led to the shutdown of all Japan’s reactors and shifted attitudes globally on nuclear power.

Cameco fell 1.5 percent to $14.40 at 8:08 a.m. ahead of regular trading in New York. The shares have fallen 11 percent this year.

The world’s largest uranium producer is Kazakhstan’s state-owned KazAtomProm, according to the World Nuclear Association.

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