Security provider Wackenhut has gotten into some serious hot water lately. Perhaps the culminating event was the shocking video evidence of security guards sleeping on the job at Exelon's (NYSE: EXC) Peach Bottom nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania.

Wackenhut's CEO has been shown the door, following the cancellation of all the contracts the company held with Exelon, this country's Duke of Nukes. But Wackenhut's fate is not of great interest to me. The matter of nuclear security is far more important.

The case for nuclear-power generation is certainly gaining steam. Just yesterday, the United Kingdom approved a new generation of nuclear plants. Global orders are robust for the likes of Areva and Shaw Group (NYSE: SGR), while Huaneng Power (NYSE: HNP) is developing its own unique reactor technology for energy-constrained China. For a company like Aluminum Corp of China (NYSE: ACH), such a development couldn't come soon enough -- power shortages forced that company to slash output at two plants this week.

It's taken a long time, as well as a big rise in the cost and demand for energy, for the nuclear-power industry to shake off past safety scares such as the one that occurred at Three Mile Island -- a plant that, incidentally, just applied for a 20-year license renewal for the unit that didn't experience a partial meltdown. If operators can't figure out how to keep their security guards awake, then we may have to hit the snooze button on the nuclear renaissance.

Huaneng Power is a Rule Breakers selection. Try the market-beating newsletter service with the safety valve of a 30-day free trial period.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is wide awake.