The interest in nuclear energy has grown in recent years, mainly because of the need to reduce carbon emission in the energy generation sector. About 29 states rely on this energy for power, while the technology is also used on numerous non-electric applications, including space exploration. Over 50 countries have installed around 440 power reactors that produce about 10% of the world’s electricity.
Why Nuclear Energy Will Remain Relevant
Nuclear power stations have been around since the 1950s. In the early years, there were clear boundaries between USSR and the USA spheres. However, since the end of the Cold War, nuclear technology has evolved into international trade. For instance, uranium in Namibia may end up in reactors in South Korea or the United States.
We still need nuclear power for various reasons, such as:
It’s Clean Energy
Climate change and air pollution concerns will remain important in the future. Electricity production using resources such as fossil fuel and coal, which are leading carbon producers, is expected to drop by a considerable margin. Most countries are shifting from these sources to other carbon-free alternatives such as renewables and nuclear energy.
Nuclear power protects the environment by producing large amounts of electricity and emitting minimal carbon dioxide. In fact, it’s the leading source of clean energy in the United States. The technology produces over 800 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, leading to reduced carbon emission in power generation.
Nuclear energy compares favorably with other carbon-free alternatives in terms of conserving the environment. Although natural gas can replace inefficient coal plants, price volatility remains a major problem. Using natural gas for an extended period could also lead to increased production of carbon. Therefore, low-carbon nuclear power from uranium will remain a viable alternative source of clean energy in the future.
Increasing Electricity Consumption
According to the International Energy Agency, electricity demand globally is expected to rise by up to 39% by 2050. An increased population is expected to be an important contributor to this growth. Industrialization in developing countries will also lead to an increase in electricity demand.
The growing electricity demand will lead to an increase in the demand for numerous energy sources, such as nuclear energy. More countries will continue to turn to nuclear power to meet the increased electricity consumption, and the demand for uranium-based fuel used for nuclear power production will boom.
In terms of reliability, not many electricity sources can beat uranium. Hydroelectricity, solar, and wind energy are excellent carbon-free electricity sources, but their reliability remains an issue in many places. Solar electricity generation relies on the sun and therefore does not take place at night, during winter or in rainy seasons. Wind speed also keeps changing, making it an unreliable energy source most of the time.
Unlike most of the other energy sources, nuclear power production can run 24/7. Nuclear power plants can produce maximum power for a prolonged period, making it more reliable than coal and natural gas. Millions of Americans have relied on this reliable energy source for over 6 decades.
Supports National Security
The nuclear industry will continue being vital to America’s national security and diplomacy. The U.S. is a leader in nuclear technologies and cannot accept losing this mantle to other countries such as China and Russia. Therefore, the peaceful use of uranium and nuclear technologies will only continue to be more critical in the future.
Addressing Nuclear-Related Problems
Although nuclear will fix our future energy shortages, it faces various challenges. However, government agencies and scientists have done a lot in addressing these shortcomings. Some of the important issues in the industry include:
Since the use of nuclear power in World War 2, a lot has been done to encourage its use for peaceful endeavors and not war. In the United States, the Office of Nuclear Energy within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is in charge of the sector. The agency’s primary goal is to address obstacles in the nuclear sector to boost the sustainability of the country’s energy supply and improve the economy. The Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) is another crucial agency that mainly focuses on the national and international policy-making processes in the sector.
After major accidents at Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986, the general public started to view nuclear energy as dangerous. Democrats have been vocal in opposing the technology. However, the need to address climate change and air pollution has seen many of them reconsider their stand. Such trends show that more people are becoming aware of the benefits associated with nuclear technology.
Managing nuclear waste remains one of the contentious issues facing the industry. Bill Gates is among the players working on new technologies that promise to address this problem. Gates is a staunch believer that innovation can address the risk of accidents in the sector.
The Microsoft-founder started TerraPower in 2006 to work on traveling wave reactors (TWR). The technology promises to use both enriched and depleted uranium for electricity generation, thereby reducing waste production. Bill Gates is challenging the government to provide financial assistance to innovators developing new designs for nuclear power reactors.
How You Can Profit From Increased Nuclear Use
Given that nuclear energy will continue being an important energy source in the future, it’s essential to identify investment opportunities in the sector. Uranium is a crucial raw material in the production of nuclear energy. Therefore, the uranium supply industry will remain a lucrative sector that any serious investor should not ignore. Investing in uranium mining stocks could see you make colossal profits in the future. Companies like $CCJ and the $URA index are poised to benefit from this trend.
Nuclear Technology Shares
The government, through the DOE, is working to improve nuclear technology. The agency has been involved in the development of new reactors to reduce the production of nuclear waste. This is the right time to invest in new companies in the sector, such as Bill Gate’s TerraPower. Although nuclear technology companies may be experiencing slow business today, you could prepare for a nuclear renaissance by making the right investment decisions now.
Construction Company Shares
Building a nuclear power plant is an expensive undertaking that many people avoid. This could become an investment opportunity if regulators around the world continue to approve new projects. Buying construction company shares today could be profitable in the future.
Electricity Utility Stocks
Electricity-utilities are turning to nuclear energy to meet the increasing demand for power in homes and industries. If you’re looking for consistent dividends, you should consider investing in public utility stocks. Various public utilities in the country run tens of nuclear power plants in different states. The sector may remain profitable for a long time, given that more new plants are in the pipeline.