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Korea's Nuclear Sale to the UAE Says Much About the Future

|Includes: Cameco Corporation (CCJ), EWY, NLR
Deal of the Week. I was blown away when I heard that Korea Electric Power won the contract to build four giant 1.4 megawatt electric power plants in the United Arab Emirates for $20.4 billion. The announcement was a thumb in the eye for the French, whose EPR 1600MW reactor was thought to be the hands down winner. No doubt some old fashioned incentives were in play, but the harsh reality is that the KEPCO bid was thought to undercut competitors by as much as 50%. My only regret about this deal is that I will no longer be able to fly my Cessna down a long uninterrupted stretch of the Emirates coast, a restricted area almost certainly about to pop up on  my navigation chart. The deal speaks volumes about the direction the global economy is taking. In one fell swoop, South Korea leveraged its low labor cost to take a great leap up the international value chain, using what is basically a simply technology. What is a nuclear power plant, but a fancy way to boil water? It reveals some clever long term strategic thinking is going on in the Emirates, which is expected to run out of oil well before the other Gulf kingdoms. You can forget all the platitudes the Arabs were mouthing over environmental concerns. Why burn this valuable resource locally for nothing, when you can sell it to idiotic, short sighted Americans for $82/barrel? Worst of all, this is a high value added  industry that America once owned,  and just plain gave away, because of irrational environmental fears. Bottom line: South Korea takes a quantum leap ahead in the race for global competitiveness, while the US falls further to the back in the dust. Better take another look at my favorite nuclear plays, Cameco (NYSE:CCJ), and the Market Vectors Nuclear Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:NLR). And while you’re at it, revisit the South Korea ETF (NYSEARCA:EWY). And those who don’t see this as a life or death contest for economic survival that we can no longer take for granted better get their heads out of the sand.