COMMENTARY

Nuclear Energy Has Liberals Rushing to Invest…But Not So Fast

Craig Shirley | January 18, 2024
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In their efforts to be “good corporate citizens” or enlightened businesspeople, major corporations have held themselves out as embracing liberal values. It is no longer enough to make a good product. Company marketing executives feel the need to communicate that the company embraces certain values. Oftentimes, these values have nothing to do with company’s history and, in fact, may be counterproductive to the product. But, the political mission often supersedes the corporate mission.

In 2023, Bud Light learned the hard way that its customer base did not want a transgender “brand ambassador” in Dylan Mulvaney. Over the course of several months, Bud Light lost billions of dollars in market share. Its pitiful attempts to regain its “fratty” customer base have been ineffectual.

Disney is another once-predictable company that seeks to shock the sensibilities of its multigenerational customer base. In efforts to “diversify” films and television program, they have felt the urge to add gay characters, as well as a plan to make a radical reboot of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

The Disney audience has never asked for these changes and it now has to either accept them, or find other sources of entertainment. Meanwhile, Disney has lost huge amounts of money on eight of its last ten movies.

The latest industry to fall for liberal proselytizing is the nuclear industry.

Today, there is a growing movement among investment advisors and investors to select companies based on their commitment to environment, social, and corporate governance (ESG) ideology. Investors are closely examining a company’s ability to lower its carbon footprint, or its commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). 

One industry that is being recommended as a good investment for ESG principles is the nuclear energy industry. 

Attorneys at the national law firm Morgan Lewis eagerly recommend Big Nuclear as a solid ESG investment. They claim that nuclear has a “best in class performance concerning lifecycle land use.”

The Morgan Lewis attorneys state that the nuclear industry has high-paying jobs, as well as gender, race and age diversity.  They go far as to say that “the industry is set to play a pivotal role in helping nations address the climate crisis, reduce energy poverty, and support the growing global economy.

However, not everyone is sold on the idea of recommending Big Nuclear as an ESG investment. Leslie Samuelrich, of Green Century Funds, an environmental advisory agency raised a number of objections to recommending Big Nuclear as an investment.

One of the objections is safety. She states that “there is no guarantee that the reactors will be designed, built, and operated correctly or that a natural disaster such as the earthquake and tsunami with 30-foot waves that hit the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station won’t affect it given the increased frequency and intensity of storms due to climate change.”

Green Century Funds also raises issues with regard to timing of nuclear power plants, emissions and waste. Ms. Samuelrich contends that nuclear power takes five to seventeen years longer in the planning phase than other forms of renewable energy.

Many champions of placing nuclear in the ESG investment sector are quick to point to its lack of emissions. Green Century points out that nuclear emissions are “on average 23 times the emissions per unit of electricity generated.” Existing points have to keep refining uranium to keep a nuclear plant generating.

The nuclear industry has also had to deal with woke advocates within its ranks. A 2020 article from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists calls on the nuclear industry to acknowledge its place in the furtherance of systemic racism and to make amends.

On top of all of its other problems, a federal government plan to bail out faltering nuclear power plants failed to make any payments to prop up these companies. Not one company signed up for bailout.

The nuclear industry is trying to present itself as a clean energy alternative to electricity and fossil fuels. When consumers look under the hood, they will see a great deal of Woke politics at play.

Craig Shirley is Chairman of Citizens for the Republic.

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