Tap Into Nuclear Growth With This Uranium ETF

Uranium miners have struggled since the March 2011 Fukushima disaster slashed demand for the reactor fuel and sent prices plunging. However, nuclear power continues to be an important part of the energy mix, particularly in the developing world.

If you want to increase your exposure to the sector, a uranium ETF offers a low-cost way to do so. We’ll look at an example below, but first here’s a look at some factors affecting uranium’s short- and long-term prospects.

A major reason behind the fall in uranium prices was that Japan, the world’s third-largest nuclear power producer before the accident, closed its 50 other reactors in response. Since then, other developed countries, like Germany, Switzerland and Belgium, have announced plans to move away from nuclear power. These factors continue to weigh on uranium demand.

However, China and India continue to stick by their nuclear ambitions. According to the World Nuclear Association (WNA), China has 17 reactors in operation, 30 under construction and plans to build more. The agency reports that China’s nuclear generation capacity could increase fourfold by 2020.

India, for its part, got just 3.7% of its power from nuclear in 2011, but the country aims to boost that to 25% by 2050, again according to the WNA.

In addition, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe favors restarting the country’s reactors in a bid to cut its reliance on imported fossil fuels, which have become more expensive due to a drop in the value of the yen. A restoration of nuclear power in Japan would be an obvious plus for uranium prices.

A Broad-Based Uranium ETF

Investors looking to buy into a continued nuclear power expansion should consider the Global X Uranium ETF (NYSE: URA).

The fund tracks the Solactive Global Uranium Index, which is designed to reflect the performance of the global uranium business. The index consists of shares of companies that are engaged in some aspect of the industry, including mining, refining, exploration and equipment manufacturing.

The uranium ETF devotes roughly a quarter of its portfolio to Cameco Corp., the world’s largest producer. Other holdings include Uranium Participation Corp., Denison Mines, Paladin Energy, Areva, Ur-Energy, Inc., Syrah Resources, Uranium Energy Corp., Energy Resources of Australia and Fission Uranium Corp.

A Uranium ETF That’s Focused on Stable Countries

The Uranium ETF holds the largest portion (over 50%) of its portfolio in Canada, followed by Australia (25%), the U.S. (22%) and France (0.48%). It has an expense ratio of 0.69%.