Investors dump uranium stocks
AUSTRALIAN investors dumped uranium stocks as Japan scrambled to avert a full nuclear meltdown at a power plant affected by a devastating earthquake.
Rio Tinto Ltd majority owned Energy Resources of Australia, the world’s fourth largest uranium producer, closed down $ 1.15, or 12.23 per cent, at $ 8.25 yesterday.
Toro Energy Ltd plunged three cents, or 23.08 per cent, to 10 cents, fellow uranium explorer Extract Resources Ltd finished 82 cents, or 7.71 per cent, weaker at $ 9.81. Uranium miner Paladin Energy Ltd was down 78 cents, or 16.49 per cent, at $ 3.95.
City Index Australia senior dealer Biyi Cheng said there was a threefold jump in the usual t rading volume f or Paladin stock, with 34.6 million shares in the miner changing hands.
CommSec analyst Steve Daghlian said the investor response to the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan could be put down to a knee-jerk reaction.
He s aid it was uncertain whether the crisis would trigger a turning point in sentiment towards nuclear power.
‘‘ The cooling systems at two reactors in Fukushima failed, we had dozens of people being evacuated, explosions and leaks . . . so that would have raised questions on the safety of nuclear power plants overall in the short term,’’ he said.
The Japanese government declared an ‘‘ atomic power emergency’’ and evacuated thousands of residents l i ving close t o Fukushima.
Australian Uranium Association chief executive Michael Angwin said it was too early to tell how the situation in Japan would affect the nuclear power sector, but was confident the industry would learn from it.
FALLOUT: A radioactivity measurement is taken in Russia’s Vladivostok in the wake of the Japanese nuclear plant explosions