GE falls on ties to Japan nuclear plants

Shares of General Electric slip amid Japan's nuclear energy crisis, while alternative-energy stocks get a boost.

By TheStreet Staff Mar 14, 2011 12:23PM

thestreetBy Andrea Tse, TheStreet


Updated at 1:43 p.m. ET


General Electric (GE) shares were skidding Monday after GE-designed nuclear power reactors in Japan were damaged in Friday's massive earthquake and as investor confidence in Japan's nuclear-power future crumbled.


Shares of GE were falling 4.1% to $19.53, while its nuclear venture partner Hitachi (HIT) was plunging 15.5% to $49.93.


The unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan has called into question the nuclear energy policy of the U.S. and other nations, as policy makers balance safety issues with the need to develop alternative, clean sources of energy to reduce oil dependency.


Already, the Swiss government has suspended all plans to build and replace nuclear plants. Germany has suspended a plan to extend the lives of Germany's 17 nuclear plants. The government has said it will conduct an extensive review of the plans' safety and the country's atomic energy policy.

German environmental minister Norbert Roettgen said over the weekend that the government will look to accelerate the use of alternative energies.


The alternative-energy and natural-gas sectors were surging on anticipation of stronger demand.


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First Solar (FSLR) was popping 4.4% to $145.91, Trina Solar (TSL) was surging 9.2% to $26.46, Yingli Green Energy (YGE) was rallying 8.6% to $11.30, andSuntech Power (STP) was advancing 4.5% to $8.40. Natural-gas producer Chesapeake Energy (CHK) was up 2.6% to $33.66.


In the U.S., shares of the largest nuclear reactor operators Exelon (EXC) and Entergy (ETR) were losing 2.5% and 5.5%, respectively.


Uranium miners Denison Mines (DNN) and Uranium Resources (URRE) were plunging over 25% in afternoon trading.


While General Electric is a major supplier of wind turbines and other sources of alternative energy, the company continues to express belief in the resurgence of nuclear power demand. Since 2007, the U.S. conglomerate has partnered with Hitachi, the Japanese electricity generation and electronic device company, in a nuclear venture. GE's chairman, Jeffrey Immelt, said GE will provide its partner with technical support in an effort to avert a nuclear crisis.

One of the GE-designed reactors at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, where the explosions have happened over the past few days, began operating 40 years ago.


Since the earthquake struck, there have been at least two explosions at the Dai-ichi nuclear plant, injuring at least 11 workers.


Water levels have plummeted there, exposing the fuel rods and threatening a meltdown.


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Mar 14, 2011 3:46PM

I read some interesting statistic for nuclear power plants vs wind farms.  In the last 10 years there have been 7 industrial deaths ( non radiation) in nuke plants but there have been 44 deaths in construction and operation of wind generators.  There have been more deaths from petroleum processing and extraction in the last 6 years ( 11-BP Louisiana, 8 BP- Texas City, 2 -Conoco Oklahoma) than the entire 40 years of these Japanese reactors.


This same region of Japan was hit in 1896 by an earthquake, typhoon and a tidal wave all at the same time and the region gets hit with typhoons regularly.  Those reactors have had a very good safety record over 40 years, the media and the wind / solar power freaks are over reacting to this disaster to further their agendas.  The technology is sound, safe, reliable and fairly inexpensive once the major outlays for construction are spent.  We need to go full steam on these type of plants to get off foreign oil.  

Mar 14, 2011 1:55PM
The reaction to the nuclear accident in Japan and the selling of stocks with anything to do with that sector does not make since. Those nuclear facilities are old technology and actually held up well considering the size of the quake and aftershocks along with the tsunami. Chicken little is alive and well it seems.
Mar 14, 2011 2:06PM

booooooo heart is bleeding...............................'NOT'!


for g.e. that is!

Mar 14, 2011 6:51PM
  Green people will look for any excuse to think that sun, wind and batteries will solve our needs.  Some day they might be right, but not today.  The idiot Immelt @ GE is hedged between nuclear power and wind power, go figure. 1 + 1 usualy ='s 2. Too bad that $ and his NBC network became campaign headquarters for ObamaWama, he'll flip/flop either direction as nothing, except spending, is accomplished. We're leaderless with idiots like Immelt, green people and more minorities than really exist directing our policies as they ignore FACTS.  
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