An ETF to Play Nuclear’s Comeback

07/16/2009 10:13 am EST

Focus: ETFS

Doug Fabian

Editor, Successful ETF Investing, ETF Trader's Edge, Weekly ETF Report, and ETFU.com

Doug Fabian, editor of Making Money Alert, finds an ETF that gives investors exposure to a resurgent nuclear power industry.

For 30 years, no shovelful of soil was turned to construct a nuclear plant in the United States until 2006, when groundbreaking occurred for the National Enrichment facility in New Mexico.

With elected officials calling to reduce US dependence on carbon-based fuel, interest in nuclear power could reignite. Since President Obama has declared that nuclear energy will be a huge part of an effective energy policy, now may be the time for investors to consider an exchange-traded fund (ETF) that focuses on alternative energy sources.

With environmentalists protesting that global warming threatens the planet, interest in nuclear energy and other non-carbon-based fuel is on the rise. Although alternative energy sources such as solar and wind seem safer and trendier, neither of those technologies is capable of replacing coal or natural gas in the foreseeable future.

Despite the current recession, energy demand remains reasonably strong. Global electricity consumption is expected to double in the next 25 years. With a projected fossil fuel shortage to meet such long-term demand, experts believe that nearly 50 new nuclear plants will be constructed around the world by 2020. More than half of those are expected to be in the emerging markets of China, India, and Russia.

Countries such as France already have 80% of their energy supplied by nuclear power. In addition, one of the biggest advantages of nuclear reactors is that once these plants are completed, they usually operate for decades and provide a steady revenue stream. So, how do you profit from this surge in the sector? Well, there is a way to "go nuclear."

The Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF (NYSEArca: NLR) is a fund designed to give investors exposure to public companies in the nuclear energy sector. The fund normally invests at least 80% of total assets in equity securities of US and foreign companies primarily engaged in the nuclear energy business.

As solar and wind energy still are years away from developing a sustainable and cheap product, all signs point towards going nuclear. With the massive surge in the construction of nuclear plants around the world, this sector is a must for any investor's watch list.

Editor’s Note: NLR’s three largest holdings are Cameco (NYSE: CCJ, Toronto: CCO.TO), Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG), and Electricite de France (Paris: EDF, OTC: ECIFY.PK). The ETF closed above $22 Wednesday, about halfway between its 52-week high and low.

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