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Japan Disaster Towers Over Nuclear Power Industry
CNBC.com | November 11, 2011 | 04:28 PM EST

The crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan last March put the brakes on the industry's revival, dimming prospects for the immediate future.

Since the March 11 disaster — the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl — several countries including Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria have reduced or halted plans for nuclear power.

Germany, which gets about 25 percent of its power from nuclear sources, plans to decommission existing plants by 2022, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

While the disaster has reignited safety concerns in some U.S. communities, notably near the Vermont Yankee plant in southeastern Vermont and Indian Point, near New York City, analysts generally don’t expect nuclear power to go away in the U.S.

“There’s a general consensus that utilities in the U.S. operate their plants safely,” says Travis Miller, an associate director at Morningstar. “They are very productive and very profitable, and we don’t see any change to that even following Fukushima.”

Still, the Fukushima tragedy continues to cast a shadow on some parts of the industry, if only because of nagging unknown.

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