Donald Trump's surprise presidential victory last year sent the markets into uncharted territory, keeping stock pickers on their toes trying to predict winners and losers. And while there's been attention-getting movement in lots of sectors, nuclear energy has been on the rise, perhaps expecting a breakout period under a new administration.

After all, Donald Trump's views on nuclear energy are very clear. (He famously noted after the Fukushima incident, "If a plane goes down, people keep flying. If you get into an auto crash, people keep driving.") This represents a dramatic turnaround from the views of the outgoing administration. (See also: What Could Trump Mean for Nuclear Power?)

Therefore, it is not surprising that nuclear companies have done well in 2017 and continue to feel a bit bullish heading into 2018. If you're ready to place a bet on nuclear energy this year, here are three stocks to consider. (See also: Top 2 ETFs With Exposure to Uranium.) 

Note: All figures were current as of November 27, 2017.

BWX Technologies, Inc. (BWXT)

BWX Technologies has the distinction of being the only domestic nuclear reactor building stock as well as the only North American heavy nuclear component manufacturer. If you're betting on an American nuclear renaissance, you might want to take a look at BWX Technologies. The Virginia-based company, a spin-off of The Babcock & Wilcox Company, has a $5.99 billion market cap. A good chunk of its business is tied up in the design and manufacture of precision nuclear components for the U.S. Navy, which is a reason for optimism under an administration promising to build up that branch of the military.

The stock is up nearly 49% over a one-year period. It closed at $36.60 on Nov. 8, 2016, and soared to $39.50 the day after the election. As of November 27, 2017, BWX Technologies stock was trading at around $60.28 with a P/E ratio of 31.86. (See also: 3 Reasons Why BWX Technologies Is a Great Momentum Stock.)

Exelon Corporation (EXC)

Exelon is a nuclear giant – it owns 25% of the nuclear power plants in the U.S. The company provides electricity to nearly 8 million customers in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Maryland, of which 60% is nuclear. Exelon has a market cap just short of $40 billion and a current P/E ratio of 22.03. Over the past year, the stock is up almost 28%, but its trajectory since the November election has been more interesting. The stock closed at $33.61 on Nov. 8, 2016, but plunged to below $30 by Nov. 11. It has since recovered, and as of November 27, 2017, Exelon stock was trading at about $41.65, near its 52-week high

The stock's 52-week range is $31.77 to $42.67, and the 12-month median price target is $42.75, implying a modest 2.5% upside potential from current levels. The consensus sentiment is Outperform. Exelon has a dividend yield of 3.25%, or $1.31 per share. (See also: Opinion: Three Mile Island Signals Nuclear Climate Change.)

Cameco Corporation (CCJ)

A nuclear reactor is useless without uranium, and Cameco is the world's largest producer of this heavy metal, turning out more than 14,000 tons of the stuff from its mines in Kazakhstan, Canada and the U.S. in 2015, the latest full year for which figures are available. That is up 22% from 2014 and represents 18% of the earth's total production.

The Canadian company has a market cap of $3.652 billion. At the time of Trump's victory in November 2016, Cameco shares were trading at about $8.50, and as of November 27, 2017, the stock is trading at about $9.40 per share. Cameco stock also pays a dividend of 3.14%, or $0.31 per share. The consensus rating for Cameco is in-between Neutral and Outperform. (See also: Should Cameco Be on Your Radar Now?)

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