Donald Trump's surprise presidential victory in 2016 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 some 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.

Note: All figures are current as of February 16, 2018.

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 $6.45 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 rose more than 50% in 2017. As of February 16, 2018, BWX Technologies stock was trading at around $64.85 with a P/E ratio of 33. (See also: 3 Reasons Why BWX Technologies Is a Great Momentum Stock.)

MKS Instruments, Inc. (MKSI)

MKS Instruments, Inc. provides the sensors and valves that are used in nuclear fuel processing, uranium conversion, and nuclear accelerators. The company holds over 600 patents for its products. 

MKS Instruments has a market cap of $6 billion and a current P/E ratio of 17.99. The stock rose 58% in 2017. As of February 16, 2018, shares were trading at around $110, very close to the 52 week high. Analyst consensus on the stock is "buy," according to MarketWatch.

US Ecology, Inc. (ECOL)

Headquartered in Idaho, US Ecology, Inc. is a hazardous waste management company that operates one of only two full-service low-level radioactive waste disposal facilities in the United States. Low-level radioactive waste is produced by nuclear fuel cycle facilities as part of their regular operations. 

With a market cap of $1.22 billion, company has a P/E ratio of 46.65 and a dividend yield of 1.43%. Revenue in 2017 was $504 million, up 6% from the previous year. In its fourth quarter earnings reports, US Ecology said it expected revenue to continue to rise in 2018. 

As of February 16, 2018, shares were trading at $56.30, up from closer to $50 earlier in the month. 

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