Some environmentalists are warming up to the idea that nuclear energy can be a viable clean energy source. The nuclear energy industry, along with related exchange traded funds (ETFs), is receiving a nice boost from federal aid, but one group wants greater disclosure on the loan guarantees.
On top of diminishing global air emissions, nuclear power plants are running at lower production costs than compared to coal, natural gas or oil, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute. The NEI provides additional information on plants that are being renewed and being commissioned. [Your Guide to Green ETFs.]
The nuclear fission process produces basically no greenhouse gas emissions or other pollutants associated with fossil fuels that could result in acid rain, reports Nina Shen for The Washington Post. Proponents like to quote that nuclear power generates 70% of the country’s “carbon-free” energy. [3 Nuclear ETFs to Capture Clean Energy Push.]
However, critics argue that the cost of constructing a nuclear plant may be more than it is worth. Instead, some believe we should be finding more efficient ways to generate energy and invest in “micropower,” or a cogeneration of heat and electricity combined with renewables. Additionally, observers note that nuclear plants haven’t dealt with the major problem of storing spent fuel and that generating electricity requires a lot of water for cooling.
The environmentalist group Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is suing the Department of Energy over the Freedom of Information Act request about the federal loan guarantees, writes Ben German for The Hill. The group argues that taxpayers should receive greater disclosure on multi-billion dollar nuclear projects.
For more information on nuclear industry, visit our nuclear energy category. According to the ETF Analyzer, there are three ways to get nuclear energy exposure these days, though all three are below the 200-day moving average. Sign up for alerts to be notified when there’s a trading opportunity in these funds!
- PowerShares Global Nuclear (NYSEArca: PKN). The fund is based on the WNA Nuclear Energy Index. Major sector allocations include: Industrial Materials 46.39%%, Utilities 29.35% and Energy 4.6%. Top country allocations include: Canada 11.9%, France 9.7% and Australia 5.3%.
- Market Vectors Nuclear Energy (NYSEArca: NLR). The fund tries to reflect the DAXglobal Nuclear Energy Index. Top sectors include: Industrial Materials 56.23%, Utilities 30.11% and Energy 9.45%. Top country allocations include: U.S. 30.8%, Canada 25.3% and Japan 18.5%
- iShares S&P Global Nuclear Energy (NYSEArca: NUCL). The fund tries to reflect the S&P Global Nuclear Energy Index. Top sectors include: 40.1%, Utilities 34.9% and Industrials 11.4%. Country allocations include: U.S. 25.6%, Japan 17.3%, Canada 11.5%.
Max Chen contributed to this article.
The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.