2012 Was the Worst Year Ever for Nuclear Energy

2012 Was the Worst Year Ever for Nuclear Energy

There are lots of nuclear energy companies that would like to leave 2012 behind. Of all the major energy sources, it was the only one that saw a global decline in total consumption. The decline in the United States was largely attributed to cheap natural gas, as it captured a much larger chunk of market share, while alternative energy options became more attractive. To compound the problem, the Fukushima Daiichi meltdown made several countries abroad rethink nuclear use. In Japan, 89% of all nuclear power was shut down as a result of the disaster.

So the question remains, where does nuclear go from here? The increasing attractiveness of solar and wind is going to make it harder and harder to justify using nuclear as a base-load power source, because the economics of doing so is not as attractive as that for natural gas or even coal. One element that could completely change the landscape is restrictions on carbon emissions. Tune in to the following video, where Fool.com contributor Tyler Crowe discusses what these events could mean for nuclear and what some utility companies are doing in light of these new trends.

The energy industry in the United States is changing fast, but that doesn't mean you should immediately pull out and wait for the dust to settle. For disciplined investors who do their homework, there are several great stocks out there that would be a sound addition to your portfolio. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has identified one under-the-radar energy company as his pick of the year. Let us help you get started on your analysis of this company by checking out our free special report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report.

The article 2012 Was the Worst Year Ever for Nuclear Energy originally appeared on Fool.com.

Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at Fool.com under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google +, or on Twitter, @TylerCroweFool.The Motley Fool recommends Dominion Resources, Exelon, and Southern. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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