Battered by a severe earthquake and tsunami which caused horrific destruction and loss of life, Japan is now scrambling to contain damaged nuclear power plants, some of which have undergone partial meltdown.
Japanese nuclear safety agencies have reported areas with higher than normal radioactivity, but thus far this does not pose health risks to humans. Nevertheless, the market has reacted with a dramatic sell off of nearly all stocks related to nuclear energy and uranium, leaving some investors wondering if the recent “renaissance” in nuclear energy will be reversed as a result of this catastrophe.
Despite the devastation in Japan, analysts at J.P. Morgan do not interpret the sudden slide in uranium as a reversal of a longer-term trend. “Helping uranium is the fact that China barely has enough supply to meet half its current needs,” read a morning note.
Indeed, Chinese officials have stated that they will proceed as planned with their nuclear energy expansion program. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) China has 11 active reactors, 20 in the construction pipeline, and further plans to build 120 additional reactors.