Wyoming Uranium Industry Shrugs off Crisis

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"Demand to remain strong for companies operating in the home of the largest uranium deposits in the U.S."

The world has kept close watch on Japan's nuclear situation, and global reaction has been swift. Several countries, including many in Europe as well as Russia, China and India, have announced reviews of their plans to build or renovate nuclear power plants. Germany has said it will shut down seven of its 17 plants for a safety review.

These moves, along with deep public concern about the scope of the disaster, have hit uranium prices and slammed stocks of uranium production companies.

However, demand for uranium from existing nuclear power plants in the United States and elsewhere, the stability of long-term contracts and the construction of new nuclear power plants in Asia will protect the industry from altering its Wyoming plans. The state has the largest known uranium reserves in the nation, and a number of companies are preparing to begin mining and processing here.

"That demand needs to be met, and it's not being produced at this time in this country, so that demand is not going to go away," said Marion Loomis, executive director of the Wyoming Mining Association.

"There could be some impact going forward, depending on what finally shakes out in Japan, and it's too soon to get an accurate handle on it," said Glenn Catchpole, chief executive and president of Uranerz Energy Corporation (TSX:URZ; NYSE.A:URZ).

While Japan may cancel reactor construction, new construction elsewhere will keep demand for uranium strong, according to a note released Monday by Credit Suisse.

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