The outlook for uranium miners and nuclear power plant builders has dimmed considerably following the disaster at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi power plant last spring. The Japanese government is considering building non-nuclear plants to replace the ruined reactors, and Germany has begun the process of de-commissioning all its nuclear generation by 2022. The US has not adopted a no-nukes plan yet, but when old plants come up for license renewal or a new plant gets approval to begin construction, it’s not a stretch to think that opposition will appear as if by magic.

The impact on uranium mining companies large and small could be dramatic if more countries follow Germany’s lead and reject nuclear generation completely. Even China has adopted a more ‘slow-go’ approach to nuclear generation. Mining companies include Cameco Corp. (NYSE: CCJ), Denison Mines Corp. (AMEX: DNN), Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: URRE), Uranerz Energy Corp. (AMEX: URZ), Uranium Energy Corp. (AMEX: UEC), UR-Energy, Inc. and (AMEX: URG). USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU) processes uranium into a low-enriched form, and General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) and Shaw Group, Inc. (NYSE: SHAW) are leading builders and servicers of nuclear power plants. France’s Areva (OTC: ARVCY), and Japan’s Toshiba Corp. (OTC: TOSBF) are also among the world’s leading builders of nuclear power plants but are excluded because comparable information for the companies is not available.

One interesting sideshow that could impact all the uranium miners is the current bidding war between Cameco and Rio Tinto plc (NYSE: RIO) for Canadian junior mining company Hathor Exploration Ltd. Hathor is expected to take the Rio Tinto offer, leaving Cameco to shop for other uranium assets, most likely among the small miners we’re looked at here.

All data from Yahoo! Finance and MarketWatch, and current price quotes were gathered just before noon today.

Cameco Corp. (NYSE: CCJ) has a median target price of $31.10 from 8 brokers. Shares are trading today at $20.34, for an implied gain of $10.76, or 53%. Cameco’s forward P/E is 14.97 and the company pays a dividend yield of 1.8%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $16.68-$44.81, and at today’s price that’s about 22% above its 52-week low and 55% below the 52-week high. Cameco is the world’s largest uranium miner, and falling uranium prices have hit the company hard since prices hit a peak in January of around $72/pound. Uranium now sells for about $52/pound, a drop of -28%, and that drop has been exacerbated by lower demand. Falling demand and price have had even harsher impacts on the smaller uranium miners. At this time, Cameco does not expect the rest of the world to follow the Japanese and German governments’ restrictions on nuclear energy.

Denison Mines Corp. (AMEX: DNN) has a median target price of $2.21 from 7 brokers. Shares are trading today at $1.49, for an implied gain of $0.72, or 48%. Denison’s forward P/E is negative and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $0.81-$4.52, and at today’s price that’s about 84% above its 52-week low and 67% below the 52-week high. Denison sold just 167,000 pounds of uranium in the third quarter, compared with 706,000 pounds in the same period a year ago. That cost the company nearly $3 million in revenues, and total revenues were less than half those of a year ago.

Uranium Resources, Inc. (NASDAQ: URRE) has a median target price of $5.00 from a single broker. Shares are trading today at $1.10, for an implied gain of $3.90, or 355%. Uranium Resources’ forward P/E is negative and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $0.52-$3.98, and at today’s price that’s about 112% above its 52-week low and 72% below the 52-week high. The company reports earnings on Monday, but even the single broker with a target price can’t be bothered to offer estimated results for the company. The implied gains here are strictly fantasy.

Uranerz Energy Corp. (AMEX: URZ) has a median target price of $5.49 from 3 brokers. Shares are trading today at $2.04, for an implied gain of $3.45, or 169%. Uranerz’s forward P/E is 12.22 and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $1.17-$5.93, and at today’s price that’s about 74% above its 52-week low and 66% below the 52-week high. Uranerz, like Uranium Resources, sports a stupendously high implied gain because it is so weak. These two might be prime candidates for the loser in the bidding war over Hathor.

Uranium Energy Corp. (AMEX: UEC) has a median target price of $4.98 from 6 brokers. Shares are trading today at $3.14, for an implied gain of $1.84, or 59%. Uranium Energy’s forward P/E is 2.78 and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $2.20-$7.48, and at today’s price that’s about 43% above its 52-week low and 58% below the 52-week high. Uranium Energy just committed to pay about $85,000 in cash and about $940,000 in restricted stock at today’s price for a uranium mining project in Arizona. That sent the share price down slightly, which is probably less than should have happened.

UR-Energy, Inc. and (AMEX: URG) has a median target price of $2.37 from a single broker. Shares are trading today at $1.10, for an implied gain of $1.27, or 115%. UR-Energy’s forward P/E is negative and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $0.75-$3.37, and at today’s price that’s about 47% above its 52-week low and 67% below the 52-week high. UR-Energy does not yet produce anything, as its Wyoming mine is still in development. The company has spent a total of about $116 million since 2004, and is looking to begin production in the second quarter of 2013. It’s anyone’s guess what the price of uranium will be then.

USEC Inc. (NYSE: USU) has a median target price of $3.38 from 2 brokers. Shares are trading today at $1.91, for an implied gain of $1.47, or 77%. USEC’s forward P/E is 10.11 and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $1.17-$6.35, and at today’s price that’s about 63% above its 52-week low and 70% below the 52-week high. USEC mailed notices to its 450 centrifuge workers in late October informing them that the company may begin laying off workers in the first two weeks of November. When it released third-quarter earnings last week, the company posted a smaller-than-expected EPS loss, but missed revenues by a mile.

General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) has a median target price of $20.00 from 14 brokers. Shares are trading today at $16.32, for an implied gain of $3.68, or 23%. GE’s forward P/E is 10.39 and the company pays a dividend yield of 3.7%. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $14.02-$21.65, and at today’s price that’s about 16% above its 52-week low and 25% below the 52-week high. GE doesn’t specify exactly what part of its revenues come from nuclear plants, but it maintains partnerships with Japan’s Hitachi and Toshiba for building and servicing nuclear plants around the world.

Shaw Group, Inc. (NYSE: SHAW) has a median target price of $27.00 from 13 brokers. Shares are trading today at $24.21, for an implied gain of $2.79, or 12%. Shaw’s forward P/E is 9.46 and the company does not pay a dividend. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $18.98-$41.62, and at today’s price that’s about 28% above its 52-week low and 42% below the 52-week high. Known primarily as a heavy construction company, Shaw owns a piece of Toshiba’s nuclear operations in both the US and the UK, as well as a 20% stake in Toshiba’s Westinghouse nuclear operations. The company is building  four nuclear units in the US and holds a services contract on four more new plants in China. For the fiscal year ended in October, Shaw’s nuclear work helped cover revenue shortfalls in coal plants.

Paul Ausick