So, You Want to Invest in Nukes

From the Wall Street Journal:

Investors who want to participate in a nuclear-power revival, take note: It's not for the faint of heart.

That's because the nuclear industry is subject to greater risks than other parts of the power sector. Nuclear plants are extremely costly and take years to build. Most new reactor designs are still awaiting certification by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and no utility in the U.S. has received the commission's permission to build and operate a new plant.

On top of that, the entire power sector is suffering because of depressed demand for electricity caused by the global recession and growing energy-conservation efforts. Low natural-gas prices also mean that nuclear plants look more expensive when compared with plants powered by fossil fuels.

Nevertheless, many investors believe nuclear power will make a comeback because reactors can produce huge amounts of electricity and could substitute for coal-powered plants, cutting pollution. Dozens of new plants are planned for South Korea, China, India, the U.K. and other nations. In the U.S., the Obama administration has proposed up to $54 billion in loan guarantees to jump-start new construction, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is processing applications for nearly two dozen proposed reactors.

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