Sustainable Investing / ESG
April 01 2022

Science vs Perception: Why Nuclear Energy Should Be Part of the Green Transition

5 min read

Don Li, CFA, Vice President, TD Asset Management; Priti Shokeen, Vice President & Director, TD Asset Management; Robert Vanderhooft, CFA, Senior Vice President, TD Bank Group and Vice Chair, TD Asset Management 

When you hear "nuclear energy", is your first association nuclear accidents such as Chernobyl and Fukushima? If so, you are not alone. But is this gloomy catastrophic view of nuclear energy in line with scientific evidence about its safety?

A deeply insightful new paper by TD Asset Management Inc. argues that it is time to destigmatize nuclear energy. Instead, nuclear should be viewed as a significant part of the solution in the quest to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, even though it generates highly concentrated but radioactive waste that can be stored safely.

The reasons the paper cites are that nuclear energy produces extremely low lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and has the ability to consistently and reliably generate sufficient power to meet a base level of demand in the electricity grid. Also, the paper notes, the production of nuclear energy has seen significant technological advances in scalability and safety.

Overlooking nuclear power as an important energy source would be detrimental, given the grave difficulty of mitigating climate change while ensuring energy security, according to the article, which provides a deep dive into issues such as the emissions profile of nuclear energy compared to other forms of energy production, the evolution of nuclear technologies, and the management of radioactive waste.

Energy is the engine of economic growth. So, the article cautions, without increased investments in nuclear production and the associated infrastructure, the world is likely to see higher energy prices, higher carbon prices and significant challenges for countries to meet their climate goals, which would lead to higher inflation and dampen economic growth - a scenario that is particularly salient amid the current energy concerns resulting from the Russia-Ukraine war.

For more details, read the full article.