An exchange traded fund tracking the uranium sector is among the best-performing ETFs in 2012 after falling hard last year on Japan’s nuclear disaster.

Global X Uranium ETF (NYSEArca: URA) is up 29% year to date. Further growth in China is supporting continued investor interest.

“China’s primary economic planning agency, The National Development and Reform Commission, estimates that China can expand its current nuclear capacity of 10.8 gigawatts to between 70 and 80 gigawatts by 2020,” according to a MarketWire press release. “China plans to have 40 reactors by 2020 and by 2030, enough additional reactors to generate more power than all 104 reactors in the US.”

The construction of 27 nuclear plants in China was previously halted after the Fukushima disaster in Japan back in early 2011. This event also sent the nuclear industry into a wasteland.  The worst may be over for the sector as investor interest has been restored. [Why the Uranium ETF is Rallying]

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jaibo announced that the country’s focus is to be on nuclear energy while limiting the use of coal earlier on this year. Furthermore, positive influence from some of the industry’s largest players have re-energized investor interest. [ETF Chart of the Day: Nuclear Energy]

The largest industry player is Cameco Corporation (NYSE: CCJ), which have gained more than 27% since last December. The company accounts for more than 16% of global uranium production, and forecasts that more pressure from China and India could raise uranium prices.  Also, shares of Uranium Resources (NASDAQ : URRE) have surged in excess of 40 % in the last month and the company has produced over 8 million pounds of uranium. [Is Uranium ETF A Bargain Buy Now?]

Major economies such as Japan and Germany are going to wean themselves off of nuclear energy, while other economies such as the U.S. and France are delaying any further building of new plants. However, demand for new plants by developing economies such as China could be a driving force.

Global X Uranium ETF

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

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