Japan's struggle to prevent a nuclear disaster has the world aghast. The people watching most intensely are those whose countries contain a significant number of nuclear power plants—or intend to build them. Economists and investors are skittish: World markets have plunged since an earthquake and then a tsunami hit Japan on Mar. 11. Japan's Nikkei average has shed more than 11 percent year-to-date and the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index has reeled through three days of losses, as of press time on Mar. 16. Shares in diverse companies that range from Entergy (ETR
) and Exelon (EXC
), which own nuclear power plants in the U.S., to engineering firms such as Shaw Group (SHAW
) and General Electric (GE
) and insurers such as Munich Re (MUV2:GR
), Allianz (ALV:GR
), and Swiss Re (RUKN:VX
) have been battered and could undergo greater declines if the situation in Japan worsens.
Today the majority of the more than 100 nuclear plants in operation across the U.S. were built in the 1970s and ‘80s. The oldest still in operation is the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant near Rochester, N.Y., which received its operating license in 1969, according to the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The newest is the Watts Bar plant outside of Knoxville, Tenn., which went online in 1996.
to learn the locations and ages of the 104 nuclear power plants in operation across the U.S.