Uranium Resources, Inc. (URRE)
Q1 2011 Earnings Call
May 11, 2011 1:30 p.m. ET
Deborah Pawlowski - KEI Advisors LLC
Don Ewigleben - President, CEO
Rick Van Horn - SVP, Operation
Tom Ehrlich - CFO
David Snow - Energy Equities, Inc.
Pete Williams – Private Investor
Previous Statements by URRE
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As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.
It is now my pleasure to introduce your host Ms. Deborah Pawlowski, IR for Uranium Resources Incorporated. Thank you, Ms. Pawlowski. You may begin.
Thank you, Jackie, and good afternoon, everyone. We appreciate your time today and your interest in Uranium Resources. On the call I have with me President and CEO, Don Ewigleben, who will discuss recent events. Of late, you should have the release that we just put out and you should have the release that went out last night, regarding our joint venture in Texas. He’ll also review our outlook and strategic initiatives for the company are as we move forward.
On the call, we also have Tom Ehrlich, Chief Financial Officer; Rick Van Horn, Senior Vice President of Operation Exploration, as well as Mark Poliza, Senior Vice President of Environment Safety and Public Affairs.
I will conclude the call with an opportunity for questions and answers. If you don't have today's release, or last night’s release, they both can be found on our website at www.uraniumresources.com.
As you are aware, we may make some forward-looking statements during the formal presentation and the Q-and-A portion of this teleconference. Those statements apply to future events, which are subject to risks and uncertainties as well as other factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from where we are today.
These factors are outlined in the news release as well as in documents filed by the Company with Security and Exchange Commission. You can find those on our website, where we regularly post information about the company, as well as on the SEC's website at sec.gov. So please review our forward-looking statements in conjunction with these precautionary factors. With that, let me turn the call over to Don to begin the discussion. Don?
Thank you Debbie. And thanks to all who joined us this afternoon. I’d like to begin by reviewing what we believe were the significant events in the first quarter of 2011 for URI, and then I’ll discuss our plans for the remainder of the year and beyond.
Without question, the leading issue of the quarter was the devastating tsunami in Japan that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, and frankly, created unnecessary and uncertainty in the uranium market.
On March 11, as all of you know, a 0.9 magnitude earthquake rattled Japan, with a subsequent tsunami, which caused massive destruction. The disaster that developed at Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant has had, and will continue to have an effect on public perception of the nuclear power for years to come. We recognize that.
Many countries are conducting thorough safety checks of their own nuclear facilities, and Germany has gone as far as to close several of their facilities. Let’s look specifically at the U.S.
President Obama has stated that the United States will stay the course, and continue to develop nuclear power as the President seeks to increase the countries clean energy supply. What had been a growing public support for nuclear power, pre-Fukushima has now eroded sharply since the disaster.
According to a recent CBS news poll, public support for building new nuclear power plants in the U.S. has fallen to an all-time low. Even lower than immediately following the 1979 Three-Mile Island incidence. Yet, Japan’s nuclear crisis won’t prevent construction of the four to eight reactors planned for the construction in U.S. in 2020, according to Nuclear Energy Institute. The NEI doesn’t expect the situation in Japan to have a major impact on nuclear plant licensing in the U.S.
While the crisis in Japan has added uncertainty as we mentioned, to the outlook for U.S. nuclear power, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is still scheduled to vote on nuclear reactor licenses this year. Southern Companies’ plan for two reactors in Georgia may be approved by the end of the year. SCANA Corporation’s proposal to build two reactors in South Carolina, might win NRC approval this year or in early 2012, according to the NEI.
The 104 U.S. commercial reactors are getting closer scrutiny by regulators and lawmakers after the disaster, and rightly so. Nuclear Regulatory Commission personnel are expected to submit a report this week on the safety of U.S. reactors. The NRC will adopt the lessons learned from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear crisis, and implement reforms if necessary according to Chairman Greory Jaczko. I quote him, “Where there are problems, we will identify them and we will work to fix them.” Well, that’s encouraging to those of us in the uranium industry.
Well, let’s take a look at the real drivers in the nuclear renaissance. China, India, Russia, and to a lesser extent, Turkey. Because of growing demand for inexpensive energy, and a desire to reduce dependence on foreign oil, these countries have opted to continue their nuclear programs and are also moving forward with construction plans. Each country is using Fukushima as a learning experience, and are updating their safety regulations accordingly.