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ETFs for a Revival in Nuclear Energy

tlydon@globaltrend.com (Tom Lydon)

Nuclear energy-related exchange traded funds are powering back up. The nuclear industry is witnessing a revival in the U.S. as regulators start approving new construction permits after a three-decade gap.

Market Vectors Nuclear Energy (NYSEArca: NLR) is up 11.0% year-to-date.

Scana Corp. (NYSE: SCG - News) is the second company to gain U.S. approval to build nuclear reactors in over 30 years, report Brian Wingfield and Julie Johnsson for Bloomberg. [Nuclear Energy Sector Gets U.S. Backing, ETFs Rise]

The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission voted 4-1 to allow the company to construct and operate two units near Columbia, South Carolina. Chairman Gregory Jaczko voted no, pointing to greater safety rules in light of the Fukushima Dai-Ichi disaster in Japan – a large earthquake off Japan’s coast caused malfunctions and a threatened a nuclear meltdown at a Japanese power plant early last year. [Nuclear ETFs and the Japan Disaster]

“I continue to believe that we should require that all Fukushima-related safety enhancements are implemented before these new reactors begin operating,” Jaczko said in the article.

The Scana reactors are two of the five units that may be built in the U.S. before 2020. The Scana power plant will not begin fully operating until 2017.

On Feb. 9, Southern Co. (NYSE: SO - News) won approval to build two reactors near Augusta, Georgia. The first company was the first to receive NRC construction permits since 1978.

Other ETFs that follow global nuclear providers include:

  • PowerShares Global Nuclear Energy portfolio (NYSEArca: PKN) : up 9.0% year-to-date
  • iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy (NYSEArca: NUCL) : up 7.7% year-to-date

Market Vectors Nuclear Energy

For more information on the nuclear industry, visit our nuclear energy category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.