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Nuclear power turns to developing world

As the mood in Japan, Germany, Italy and even France hardens, China is restarting a £170bn reactor programme and India is looking to atomic power to shore up its creaking grid.

A nuclear fuel pellet the size of your little finger provides more energy than 800 kilograms of coal or 650 litres of oil – and all without belching any carbon dioxide or other fumes into the atmosphere.

But the intense power of uranium, the raw material of nuclear fuel, was demonstrated to the world by the Fukushima disaster last year. Its price on global markets has collapsed, from a record $136 a pound in 2007 to just $44 last week – a slump so severe that some of the world's biggest miners have decided they're better off leaving the mineral in the ground.

The market suffered further blows in the last month or so as several developed-world governments announced or confirmed plans to move away from atomic power for good.

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