After many years of stagnation, the nuclear power industry is showing signs of life due to higher prices for competing forms of energy, increased concern over the impact that fossil fuels have on the environment and new safer design technologies. These new designs might assuage concern that many have over the safety of this power source.
Nuclear power has many advantages over other forms of energy. It produces zero carbon emissions, and despite well-publicized accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, it is relatively safe.

IN PICTURES: Eight Ways To Survive A Market Downturn

New Nuclear Developments
Several utilities have filed Combined Construction and Operating Licenses (COL) applications to construct new nuclear power generation facilities. Progress Energy (NYSE: PGN), a large utility headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., filed for one for a greenfield facility in Florida.

Safer Design
Shaw Group
(NYSE:SHAW) is heavily involved in the nuclear power industry. The company is working with a new safer design called the AP1000. The AP1000 uses 50% less valves, and 80% less pipe than competing designs. The design also uses only one-fifth the amount of concrete and rebar as competing designs. This reduces both capital costs and maintenance costs for the owners.

Shaw also does maintenance work on existing reactors that are already built. The company recently signed a contract with Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) to provide maintenance services at its nuclear plant in Fulton, MO. Shaw is a leader and provides some type of maintenance services to 40 of the 102 plants in the U.S.

Pure Plays
Investors might one day have a pure play nuclear power company to trade. Entergy (NYSE:ETR) is the second largest producer of nuclear power in the U.S., and is planning on spinning off its non-utility nuclear assets into an entity called Enexus. These assets include six units generating 5000 megawatts of power, and one managed plant generating 800 megawatts. The spinoff process is now bogged down in obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals from the states where the plants are located.

China is ahead of many of the other emerging economies on using this power source to reduce its insatiable demand for oil and other fossil fuels. China has four new nuclear plants under construction with the first coming on line in 2013.

Bottom Line
Nuclear power holds the hope of reducing the world's dependence on dirty fossil fuels for providing energy. Although popular culture is haunted by the supposed danger of this power source, the country must come to the realization that we must choose between the lesser of many evils when providing power for the future. (For more, read Top 10 Green Industries.)

Use the Investopedia Stock Simulator to trade the stocks mentioned in this stock analysis, risk free!

Related Articles
  1. Stock Analysis

    Net Neutrality: Pros and Cons

    The fight over net neutrality has become an amazing spectacle. But at its core, it's yet another skirmish in cable television's war to remain relevant.
  2. Personal Finance

    A Day in the Life of an Equity Research Analyst

    What does an equity research analyst do on an everyday basis?
  3. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged

    Find out about the PowerShares S&P 500 Downside Hedged ETF, and learn detailed information about characteristics, suitability and recommendations of it.
  4. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: ProShares Large Cap Core Plus

    Learn information about the ProShares Large Cap Core Plus ETF, and explore detailed analysis of its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  5. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares Core Growth Allocation

    Find out about the iShares Core Growth Allocation Fund, and learn detailed information about its characteristics, suitability and recommendations.
  6. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility

    Learn about the iShares MSCI USA Minimum Volatility exchange-traded fund, which invests in low-volatility equities traded on the U.S. stock market.
  7. Stock Analysis

    Should You Follow Millionaires into This Sector?

    Millionaire investors—and those who follow them—should take another look at the current economic situation before making any more investment decisions.
  8. Professionals

    What to do During a Market Correction

    The market has what? Here's what you should consider rather than panicking.
  9. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Vanguard Mid-Cap Value

    Take an in-depth look at the Vanguard Mid-Cap Value ETF, one of the largest and most popular mid-cap funds in the U.S. equity space.
  10. Mutual Funds & ETFs

    ETF Analysis: Schwab US Broad Market

    Take an in-depth look at the Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF, an incredibly low-cost fund based on a wide selection of the U.S. equity market.
  1. Equity

    The value of an asset less the value of all liabilities on that ...
  2. Hard-To-Sell Asset

    An asset that is extremely difficult to dispose of either due ...
  3. Sucker Yield

    When an investor has essentially risked all of his capital for ...
  4. PT (Perseroan Terbatas)

    An acronym for Perseroan Terbatas, which is Limited Liability ...
  5. Ltd. (Limited)

    An abbreviation of "limited," Ltd. is a suffix that ...
  6. BHD (Berhad)

    The suffix Bhd. is an abbreviation of a Malay word "berhad," ...
  1. What is the difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital?

    The difference between called-up share capital and paid-up share capital is investors have already paid in full for paid-up ... Read Full Answer >>
  2. Why would a corporation issue convertible bonds?

    A convertible bond represents a hybrid security that has bond and equity features; this type of bond allows the conversion ... Read Full Answer >>
  3. How does additional paid in capital affect retained earnings?

    Both additional paid-in capital and retained earnings are entries under the shareholders' equity section of a company's balance ... Read Full Answer >>
  4. What types of capital are not considered share capital?

    The money a business uses to fund operations or growth is called capital, and there are a number of capital sources available. ... Read Full Answer >>
  5. What is the difference between issued share capital and subscribed share capital?

    The difference between subscribed share capital and issued share capital is the former relates to the amount of stock for ... Read Full Answer >>
  6. What happens to the shares of stock purchased in a tender offer?

    The shares of stock purchased in a tender offer become the property of the purchaser. From that point forward, the purchaser, ... Read Full Answer >>

You May Also Like

Trading Center

You are using adblocking software

Want access to all of Investopedia? Add us to your “whitelist”
so you'll never miss a feature!