An increasing number of investors are concerned about the impacts of carbon emissions on the climate.  They wish to avoid investing in businesses which contribute to the problem. According to the CDP Carbon Majors Report of 2017, nearly all of the industrial carbon emissions since 1988 have come from the top 100 fossil fuel producers.  This explains why most of the funds seeking to implement a “climate” screen simply avoid fossil fuel companies.  While that is a relatively easy way to avoid investing in companies that cause the problem, what is harder is filling in which companies will provide the energy of the future.  In looking at this problem, we saw that the largest segment of the economy which produces clean energy and is represented in public equities, is the nuclear energy industry.

Nuclear power is carbon-free energy which today provides about 20% of our electricity, 50% of our clean electrons. Energy investors, recognizing the demand for clean energy, have focused on renewables, storage and efficiency and have largely avoided recognition of nuclear energy’s contributions. The experts, however, have warned that in order to displace enough fossil fuels to meet the world’s decarbonization goals, nuclear power must be expanded along with all other types of low-carbon generation. Traditional nuclear power, now in its third generation and sized at the gigawatt+ level, requires enormous up-front capital commitments and a long time frame for project completion. It is suitable primarily for grid-scale applications.

Fortunately, a new generation of nuclear entrepreneurs are working to bring nuclear power into the 21st century by offering smaller, modularly-designed nuclear reactors that seek to improve substantially upon current operating characteristics to produce both electricity and high-temperature heat for industrial purposes. Many of these new designs will be sited underground, use alternative coolants rather than water, and even use nuclear “waste” as fuel and thereby solve two problems at once.


What is now called “Advanced Nuclear,” is an emerging technology sector that is working on both evolutionary and revolutionary nuclear power redesigns. This new sector has enormous potential to add flexible zero-carbon power to energy grids, meeting the dynamic power and energy stabilizing needs of advanced grids as well as many other energy applications.

Concerns about climate change have amplified efforts to reduce humanity’s burgeoning carbon emissions. Today, around the world, nuclear engineers equipped with advanced modeling software, miniaturization, advanced materials, artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and other tools, are in a global race to develop the best advanced energy solutions to meet a range of needs.


Given the huge size of the markets and the catastrophic costs for a failure to eliminate emissions, it is no wonder that so many brilliant engineers have launched multiple innovative design efforts. An estimated 250 ventures are working in fission, fusion, LENR (low energy nuclear reactions), subcritical reactions, fuel innovation, waste handling, storage or reprocessing, and related areas including nuclear-powered batteries, space propulsion, thermal heat systems, advanced chemical isotope separation, mobile power units, advanced production, grid integration and more. These entrepreneurs are pursuing game-changing visions of applying nuclear power to an increasing array of energy needs, and working to make them cheaper, easier to manage, faster to build and better suited for integrating into clean energy grids to serve the ecologic goals of nations around the world.


TIA has observed that there are a number of very savvy investors who have already recognized the importance of nuclear energy to our success in rapidly reducing demand for dirty fuels. These include individuals like Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, Ray Rothrock, Nathan Myhrvold, Carl Page and many others. While billionaires have the ability to conduct their own due diligence and place big bets, most of us do not.  Regular investors, seeking clean energy opportunities, are primarily focused on renewable energy sources.  Nevertheless, a broad array of NASA, IPCC, National Academy of Science and academic experts have been urging support for the expansion of nuclear power in order to best tackle our CO2 problems.

Beginning back in 2014, TIA’s “nuclear-inclusive” clean energy research led it to places where few investment professionals go: nuclear industry conferences.  Through those experiences, we began to hear more and more about the Advanced Nuclear sector and our interest in the development in that sector has grown. While there are a number of larger public nuclear companies working in this space, we believe there is the potential for considerable growth in the nuclear sector that could come from the Advanced Nuclear sector as well.

Worsening climate impacts have increased the global urgency to eliminate emissions. While opposition to the use of nuclear energy remains, we have seen growing acceptance of nuclear energy as a clean energy ally among clean energy advocates and even among environmental groups like The Nature Conservancy, the Union of Concerned Scientists and the World Resources Institute.

There is well over $6 trillion in pension and foundation investment funds that has already committed to “divest” from fossil fuels and which needs to be re-invested in alternative sources of clean energy. Fund managers are looking to find investments in truly game-changing solutions—especially those that can compete with fossil fuels on price—and be scalable at the gigaton level.  When the dust clears on the energy transition, we believe that most of that capital will leave their homes with fossil fuel-related ventures and land in ventures bringing a new generation of nuclear power to the world.