From the inbox, something we’ve known for a long time: nuclear power is too risky to be an ethical investment, according to The Ethical Funds Company.
The Ethical Funds Company says nuclear power is too risky
Vancouver, BC – January 19, 2007 – Nuclear power carries too many risks to qualify as a sustainable investment, according to a new report published by The Ethical Funds Company, Canada’s leading manager of socially responsible mutual funds.
The Ethical Funds Company has published its review of major nuclear risks in One is Too Many: Considering Nuclear in a Time of Climate Change.
“We were motivated to conduct this review by recent claims that nuclear power can serve as a primary strategy for fighting climate change,” said Bob Walker, Vice President, Sustainability, at The Ethical Funds Company. “In our view, these claims do not take into account the significant environmental, social and political challenges and risks associated with nuclear power.”
The Ethical Funds Company’s case for excluding nuclear power from its investment portfolios is based upon five issues:
1. Financial sustainability. The electricity industry is currently moving towards privatization of power generation. In order to attract investment on the open market, nuclear power plants will need to compete with other kinds of electricity generation. Cost analysis indicates that despite decades of government support – and in the absence of future subsidies – nuclear power cannot compete with coal, natural gas or some renewable sources of electricity.
2. Nuclear power safety. Analysis indicates that with an expanded industry we can expect as many as four nuclear “core” damage incidents by mid-century. Examples of this type of incident include Three Mile Island in 1979 and Chernobyl in 1986. One accident, in our view, would be unacceptable.
3. Waste disposal. After 20 years of study, the nuclear power industry has not yet resolved the issue of nuclear waste disposal. One of the world’s most advanced sites, Yucca Mountain in Nevada, has been delayed on technical grounds and because of local opposition.
4. Nuclear weapons proliferation. Nuclear weapons capability is connected to nuclear power capability. Governments and nuclear strategists acknowledge that an expanded nuclear industry increases the risk of nuclear weapons proliferation. This is a risk, society and future generations should not be asked to bear.
5. There are better options. A multi-strategy approach to climate change is now gaining traction among academics, business leaders and policy-makers. This strategy involves using a combination of conservation initiatives, existing renewable energy technologies and carbon capture and storage. Nuclear power need not be part of our future energy mix.
“There are technically achievable, more sustainable and less risky options for fighting climate change,” said Walker. “Massive investment in nuclear power could divert resources from these options and leave us with environmental and social challenges for our children and grandchildren to clean up. All these factors continue to make nuclear power as unacceptable to us now, as it was 20 years ago.”
About The Ethical Funds Company
Launched in 1992, The Ethical Funds Company is Canada’s leading manager of socially responsible mutual funds. In addition to evaluating all investments according to their financial, social and environmental performance and outlook, The Ethical Funds Company promotes corporate accountability – making good companies better – and gives investors a voice in encouraging sustainable business practices.
For more information, please contact:
Vice President, Sustainability
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