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Here are stocks to play a ‘new era’ for nuclear power, according to SocGen


Europe’s energy crisis and the global hunt for clean power sources are creating a “new era for the nuclear industry,” according to Soci?t? G?n?rale. With the industry getting a fresh look from investors, the French bank put together a basket of stocks tied to the nuclear power. Even before Russia invaded Ukraine, sending energy markets reeling, nuclear power was seen as at least a partial answer to climate change concerns since fission doesn’t release greenhouse gases. Nuclear waste, however, which takes hundreds or thousands of years to break down , must be carefully stored. Critics also point to safety concerns following several high-profile accidents, including Chernobyl and Fukushima. High costs have also burdened the industry, but Soci?t? G?n?rale said that technological innovation, including small, modular reactors, can ease some of those concerns. The firm’s new basket aims to give investors exposure to every step of the nuclear power process, from “uranium extraction to equipment makers and utilities.” Among utilities, NextEra Energy is one of the companies Soci?t? G?n?rale highlighted, noting that nuclear comprises 20% of Next Era’s energy portfolio. The Florida-based utility also owns substantial wind and solar assets. Duke Energy and Dominion Energy are other ways to gain exposure to nuclear power, with the fuel source comprising 37% and more than 40%, respectively, of each company’s power generation, according to Soci?t? G?n?rale. The Inflation Reduction Act, which President Joe Biden signed into law earlier this month, includes funding for the industry . Beginning in 2024, for instance, utilities will get a credit of $15 per megawatt-hour for power that’s generated from existing nuclear plants. The bill also includes production and investment tax credits, with some restrictions. “As demand grows for more clean energy generation, we are seeing utilities, corporations and the industrial sector looking at new nuclear to help meet their decarbonization goals,” the Nuclear Energy Institute said in a statement after the House passed the Inflation Reduction Act. “The passage of the clean energy provisions in the IRA provide confidence to invest in not only nuclear’s present but its future as well, opening a bright path toward the next generation of reactors,” the industry group added. Another U.S.-based utility with exposure to nuclear power is Exelon , with the fuel making up 53% of the company’s power fleet across more than 10 facilities. The International Energy Agency has promoted more nuclear power globally, calling it the “backbone of low-carbon electricity generation,” alongside hydropower. To reach net zero emissions by 2050, the agency said that nuclear capacity must double between 2020 and 2050. Japan’s Prime Minister on Wednesday said he wanted the government to consider building new nuclear power plants , citing uncertain global energy supplies and the need to cut carbon emissions. In its report, Soci?t? G?n?rale also pointed to several U.S. industrial companies that are working to support nuclear power, including Flowserve and BWX Technologies . Flowserve has deployed more than 5,000 pumps and 15,000 valves across more than 200 nuclear reactors worldwide, according to the company’s website. The U.S. does not currently have a robust domestic uranium mining industry, but some companies are looking to change that. Soci?t? G?n?rale highlighted Uranium Energy and Energy Fuels , both of which are involved with uranium production. The companies each have a roughly $1 billion market cap. Also on Wednesday, the Global X Uranium ETF is on pace for its best day this year, rising as much as 10.6%. – CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed reporting.

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