As more countries adopt the use of renewable energies and cut down on fossil fuel use in order to meet their carbon neutrality goals, the debate on whether nuclear energy should be used continues. Nuclear energy doesn’t emit high levels of carbon dioxide such as other renewable energies, which makes it a good option to complement solar and wind energies.
While nuclear energy is considered to be a renewable energy source, the material it uses to generate power — uranium — is not renewable. At the moment, uranium exists in plenty and, despite having a volatile price, is easier to stockpile than oil or natural gas. The energy’s revival would also create more employment opportunities in the mining sector, so why isn’t it being adopted more in the U.S.?
For starters, it is the opinion of some that the present investor-owned utility model isn’t appropriate for a new nuclear industry, with experts noting that even after government insurance guarantees and subsidies, the financial risks in this sector are too great.
There are also some who believe that within a capitalist economic framework, it would be hard to remain comfortable with nuclear operations, as the free market capitalist system has an inclination to skimp in order to advance the interests of owners and/or shareholders.
This means that while the general population may tolerate deficiencies in solar panels or wind turbines, it cannot and probably will not put up with anything short of the safest nuclear operations, which means this framework unsuitable for the sector. This is because safety limits operating flexibility and adds to costs incurred, which doesn’t align with the capitalist economic framework objective of making profit.
Additionally, many are skeptical about the government’s ability to create an underground repository for the safe and long-term storage of nuclear waste.
Public opinion holds the most weight in this discussion, because if the general public decides that it is afraid of or doesn’t want nuclear energy, it will be difficult to implement anything, regardless of the country’s political system or the country itself.
The large-scale implementation and use of nuclear energy in the U.S. is dependent on the general public’s faith in federal institutions and their ability to ensure that operations in the sector, which handles hazardous materials, are as safe as can be.
The introduction of new nuclear technologies such as small modular reactors may decrease carbon emissions as well as solve some issues, including unemployment and power outages. As these new innovations take root, U.S.-based sector players such as Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are likely to see a surge in the demand for uranium given that Europe is moving a lot faster in integrating nuclear energy in its push to reach net zero.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Energy Fuels Inc. (NYSE American: UUUU) (TSX: EFR) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/UUUU
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