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 contributor Tyler Crowe discusses what these events could mean for nuclear and what some utility companies are doing in light of these new trends. 

Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. You can follow him at under the handle TMFDirtyBird, on Google +, or on Twitter, @TylerCroweFool.

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