Since the Fukushima accident, the outlook for nuclear power has been cloudy. Japan began an extended shutdown of 48 reactors and Germany committed to move away from nuclear, to solar and wind power by the beginning of the next decade. This has given the nuclear industry a grim outlook.
However, according to data from the World Nuclear Fuel Cycle conference held in Singapore back in April, the nuclear industry outlook is not all doom and gloom. Indeed, according to data presented at the conference, new-build nuclear projects are being launched at a speed not seen since the mid 1980’s and 60% of the new projects are in Asia.
This strategy is suited to large countries such as China, India, Russia and the U.S. where nuclear projects can be built away from population zones. While nuclear power is generally safe when run properly, when it goes wrong it goes really wrong.
Long-term nuclear energy is more efficient
The long term fundamentals of nuclear power far outweigh the short term costs and it is for these reasons that nuclear energy is being considered. Additionally, there is increasing uncertainty over the cost of fossil fuels, emission regulations are starting to bite and, as of yet, solar and wind power cannot compete on the same level.
In particular, even with the shale gas boom, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission notes that work is currently underway constructing four reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia and Plant Summer in South Carolina. There are license applications for 16 more reactors being processed. Furthermore, the NRC predicts that there will be applications for up to 35 new reactors by 2030 as new emission regulations come into effect.
However, nuclear energy is expensive
The construction of nuclear plants is lengthy, highly specialized, expensive process and one of the most experienced companies for the job is Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR). Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR) has received some of the biggest contracts in the U.S. for power plant construction and the company’s diverse range of customers mean that the company is a solid play on both the expanding nuclear and oil & gas power sectors. Indeed, Fluor Corporation (NEW) (NYSE:FLR)’s revenues have rocketed more than 30% over the past three years as the company has reaped the benefits from the US oil boom. Earnings have followed suit, up 37% during the same period.
Earnings are expected to rise to $4.14 per share this year, up from $2.17 in 2012, that’s a gain of 91% and the company’s growth won’t stop there as another 14% rise in EPS to $4.70 in penciled in for 2014.