Three Mile Island. Chernobyl. Sellafield. Fukushima.
These are just the most famous names from an alarmingly long list of civilian nuclear incidents. Each of these accidents resulted sparked intense public debate on the future of civilian nuclear power.
Is it really safe? What do we do with the waste? It'll be toxic for tens of thousands of years? How bad will the next accident be? What kind of trade-off are we making? These are just some of the questions mooted in the wake of these and other nuclear accidents.
Unloved Uranium is About to Get Much More Attractive
Pity poor uranium -- there is perhaps no more unloved segment of the energy market right now.
Not only is it a commodity, but nuclear power has a stigma attached to it, thanks to the March 2011 Fukushima nuclear mishap in Japan.
Uranium has brought both joy and tears to investors over the past decade. After a 20-year bear market, the price of uranium (U308), bottomed in 2001 at $8 per pound. It then skyrocketed to over $100 a pound, only to fall back again.
Most recently, it peaked at $72 a pound in January 2011. The Fukushima earthquake and tsunami disaster a few months later put a pall over the industry and prices, resulting in the current price of $40.70 a pound.
Yet despite some countries slowing down their plans for nuclear power expansion and the negative mood hanging over the sector, uranium looks to be poised for a rebound in the not-too-distant future.
Why? Well, for one thing, the United Nations' nuclear agency - the International Atomic Energy Agency - said "The Fukushima Daiichi accident is expected to slow or delay the growth of nuclear power, but not reverse it."
The IAEA forecast impressive growth of somewhere between 23% and 100% in nuclear power capacity by 2030.
Why Uranium Prices Are at a Critical Tipping Point
Despite the Fukushima disaster in March 2011, the demand for nuclear power continues to rise.
For uranium investors, that means the commodity is at a critical tipping point towards much higher prices.
Thanks to considerably higher energy costs, even Japan is now shifting its stance on nuclear power. According to Japan Today, newly elected Prime Minister Shinzo Abe now says he is willing to build new nuclear reactors.
That's a dramatic shift from the previous government's pledge to phase out all of the country's 50 working reactors by 2040.
But the most significant impact in nuclear power is likely to come from the developing world-especially China.
China's commitment to nuclear power means they could be adding as many as 100 nuclear reactors over the next two decades. That's a monumental shift considering China currently operates only 15 reactors.
Other nations such as Russia, India, South Korea, and the UAE are contemplating new nuclear power plants as well that would add to the 435 nuclear reactors already providing base-load power worldwide.
In this year alone, 65 nuclear power plants are under construction, another 160 new reactors are currently in the planning stages and 340 more have been proposed.
Given this ongoing shift, the demand for uranium is clearly going to be getting stronger, which presents a problem since there is already a uranium supply deficit.
According to the World Nuclear Association, total consumption of uranium was 176.7 million pounds in 2011 and growing. Meanwhile, last year's total uranium output was 135 million pounds. That's an annual deficit of roughly 40 million pounds.
Of course, you know what happens when supply can't keep pace with demand--- uranium prices will begin to rise.
But that's only part of the story. Thanks to the end of a program called Megatons to Megawatts the supply deficit promises to get even worse.
Buy, Sell or Hold: Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) Can Energize Your Portfolio with a High-Powered Dividend
With the yield on U.S. Treasury bonds sitting well below 3%, income investors have to get creative. Those seeking dividend-based cash flow must to be willing to look in less traditional places to find a safe yield. And what could be less traditional than nuclear power?
After the Three Mile Island disaster of 1979, nuclear energy became the forgotten carbon-free source of electricity. However, a small renaissance in nuclear power is happening as we speak, and Exelon Corp. (NYSE: EXC) gives us a great tool to capture the upside from this renaissance - with some solid income, to boot.
Exelon is the largest operator of nuclear power plants in the United States, with 10 plants operating a total of 17 individual reactors. It's the third-largest operator of nuclear plants in the world, and it has a massive barrier to entry around its niche market.
China Stockpiling Uranium in Rush to Build More Nuclear Plants
China is stockpiling uranium and purchasing the yellow metal in unprecedented quantities as part of its effort to build new nuclear reactors and provide electricity for its power hungry populace.
The nation may purchase about 5,000 metric tons of uranium this year, more than twice as much as it consumes, Thomas Neff, a physicist and uranium-industry analyst at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, said in a July 6 telephone interview with Bloomberg News.
India and China are gearing up for the biggest expansion of nuclear energy since the 1970s oil crisis to cut pollution and supply their economies with enough fuel to keep them growing twice as fast as Europe and North America.
"They are essentially stockpiling in anticipation of new reactor build," said Neff, who is an independent director of GoviEx Uranium Inc., a privately held exploration company with interests in Niger. "They are stockpiling like crazy."
New 'Energy Advantage' Advisory Service Uncovers Top Energy-Sector Profit Opportunities
Oil prices will reach a record $150 a barrel in the next 12 months, sending gasoline prices to $3.80 a gallon. Commercial nuclear power will continue its comeback, but as small, sealed "mini-reactors" that can produce energy for up to 60 years - instead of as the hulking power plants of years gone by.
New global-warming regulations will turn air-pollution credits into financial assets that can trade like stocks or bonds. And a little-known U.S. pipeline and East Coast shipping terminal will transform the formerly fragmented U.S. natural-gas market into a fast-moving global marketplace - with profit opportunities to match .
To help investors profit from these global opportunities, Dr. Kent Moors - a career-energy-sector insider who is an advisor to six of the world's Top 10 oil companies and a consultant to some of the world's largest oil-producing nations - has launched the Energy Advantage advisory service.
The "New" Global Energy Sector: "The Profit Opportunity of Our Lifetime"
Oil prices will reach a record $150 a barrel, sending gasoline prices to $3.80 a gallon. Commercial nuclear power is making a comeback - but in "nuclear batteries," instead of in hulking power plants of the past. New global-warming regulations will turn air-pollution credits into financial assets that can trade like stocks or bonds. And China's zooming growth will turn the global energy sector upside down.
If this sounds like a view of the distant future - the global energy sector's own version of "Future Shock" - think again.
All of these "predictions" are becoming a reality, even as you read this. And while these transformative events will likely make the global energy sector more volatile and confusing than ever, they are also creating the largest wealth-creating opportunities that most investors will ever see, says Dr. Kent Moors, a career energy-sector consultant who works with governments and corporations throughout the world.
For all the details on Dr. Moor's energy-sector predictions, please read on...
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Obama Looks to Restart U.S. Nuclear Industry With $8 Billion Federal Loan Guarantee
U.S. President Barack Obama gave the long-suffering U.S. nuclear industry a solid boost this week when he announced $8 billion in government loan guarantees in support of a new nuclear power plant in Georgia.
The move is intended to reduce usage of fossil fuels and meet America's future energy needs. It could also provide new profit opportunities for energy-sector investors.
"I know it has long been assumed that those who champion the environment are opposed to nuclear power," President Obama said in remarks made during a speaking engagement in Lanham, Md. "But the fact is, even though we have not broken ground on a new nuclear power plant in 30 years, nuclear energy remains our largest source of fuel that produces no carbon emissions."
Thirty Years After Three Mile Island, Nuclear Power is Poised for a Comeback
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