Major Nuclear Announcements

Written By Nick Hodge

Posted September 12, 2010

Welcome to the Energy and Capital Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Energy and Capital and sister publication articles.

I can’t start this Weekend Edition without mentioning one of the hottest investment videos of the year…

It’s about a 75-cent company making big waves in the nuclear industry — importing Korean reactors, selling nuclear desalination units, and more. The video has been so popular that we’re about to release it to other web and media sites… But we wanted to give our loyal readers another chance to see it first.

As it happens, nuclear is actually a very relevant topic this week, illustrating the fierce dichotomy of the current energy market.

In South America, Argentina was once a pioneer in the nuclear industry, opening the first plant there in 1974. But the country’s ambitious plans stalled — as did most — after the Chernobyl disaster.

Now, with a new generation of reactors ready for deployment worldwide, Argentina is once again turning to nuclear…

The country just finished a long-stalled third plant and will build two more by 2025, when it aims to get 15% of its power from nuclear.

Argentina will also resume domestic uranium mining and start a program to enrich it, making it only one of five countries that has access to soup-to-nuts nuclear energy production. So keep an eye out for plays from that area.

Even in Germany — home to the world’s largest solar market and third-largest wind market — nuclear is making a comeback.

Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right coalition has agreed to extend the operating life of the country’s 17 nuclear plants by an average of 12 years.

It was good new for utilities, since they won’t have to spend capital to build new capacity. And the three largest in Germany — E.ON (XETRA: EOAN), RWE (XETRA: RWEA), and EnBW (XETRA: EBK) — were each up sharply on the news.

Opponents of the plan say it will take away from the country’s expansion of renewable energy…

But in a time of fiscal uncertainty, decisions boil down to cost. And right now, nuclear is still cheaper in Germany.

For a variety of analyst opinions on the matter, check out this report from Reuters.

Also in Europe, Lithuania has invited bids to build a nuclear plant to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports. The contract is estimated at around $6 billion, and will be open to bidding from five shortlisted companies.

And the last nuclear news this week comes to us from Kuwait — a country I’ve already covered this week.  OPEC’s fifth-biggest producer, it’s announced plans to build four nuclear reactors by 2022.

This should be viewed as another step Middle Eastern countries are taking to protect their dwindling oil reserves.

Saudi Arabia has already announced nuclear plans, and the UAE bought 4 of the very same reactors discussed in this video from the Koreans for $20 billion.

The nuclear resurgence is on.

Make sure you find a smart way to play it.

Meantime, catch up on the rest of this week’s non-nuclear energy news below.

Call it like you see it,


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