Nuclear fusion could be the technology of the future.
It's not technology. For many engineers, if physicists ever crack the secrets of fusion, it could be to the 21st century what coal was to the 19th andnaftait was up to 20. This could become the new ubiquitous technology, a piece of infrastructure found in every part of the globe.
For investors, there is huge potential here. If you want to understand how the technology of the future can boost your own retirement, read on.
To help build a balanced investment portfolio, considerworking with a financial advisor.
The basics of nuclear fusion
Nuclear fusion energy is the idea of creating electricity by combining two atoms to create a new one. When two atoms fuse, the resulting atom has a slightly smaller mass than the sum of its parts. This is due to the weak nuclear force, a form of mass/energy that binds subatomic particles into atoms. Each atom has its own binding energy, so when two atoms combine to form a single unit, that remaining binding energy is released as lost mass from the resulting atom. This creates the heat of the fusion reaction.
Fusion is a consequence of fission, the other currently known source of nuclear energy. With fission, you create a reaction that splits a large atom into two smaller atoms. With fusion, you create a reaction that joins two smaller atoms into one larger one. Fission is rarely found in nature on a large scale, but fusion is the source of energy for stars.
As a source of energy, fusion has many advantages over fission.
First, fusion is far safer than fission. Once you start a fission reaction, you must actively control it or it can quickly use up all its fuel in an explosive event. The hydrogen that fuels the fusion reaction, on the other hand, can be added when it runs out, meaning that the entire reaction will stop if you simply stop adding fuel. After the reaction, fission leaves behind highly toxic radioactive waste that can even be turned into a weapon in the wrong hands. Fusion leaves behind helium, an inert and harmless gas that the world could use more of.
Fission is fueled by relatively rare and expensive enriched uranium. Fusion is driven by an isotope of hydrogen, the most common element in the universe.
On top of that, fusion creates more energy than any other known process. With the same amount of fuel, a fusion reactor can generate four times more electricity than the fission reactors that current nuclear power plants use. That same fusion reactor can produce 4milliontimes more energy than a coal or oil-fired chemical plant.
The fusion problem
The basis of the fusion reaction is what is known as a "bottle". Currently, it is not possible to wrap even tiny stars in a physical reactor. Any solid material would evaporate immediately. Instead, the fusion reaction takes place inside a high-energy plasma. This plasma is contained in a series of strong magnetic fields. These shaped magnetic fields are called "bottle". The bottle contains and directs the heat of the fusion reaction, making it safe and productive.
The problem is that with current technology it takes more energy to maintain the magnetic bottle than the fusion reaction produces. The hotter you fire the reactor, the more energy is needed to keep the reaction going. The result is energetically negative.
However, that is changing. Advances in several different fields, from mathematics to superconductors, are making the creation of a magnetic bottle that contains and sustains the fusion reaction increasingly efficient, and in 2022, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made a credibleclaimgenerate a positive sum reaction.
Investing in a merger through companies
Investing in fusion is not simple. Since this is a developing technology, any investment in this area is essentially speculative. There are no public companies operating fusion reactors because there are no commercial fusion reactors yet. You can't have an industry around a product that only exists as a very plausible theory.
However, this is still a billion dollar industry, at around $4.8 billioninvestedfrom 2022. Although much of this work is done by government and university laboratories, there are several dozen private startup companies trying to develop their own reactors. Companies like Helion Energy and Commonwealth Fusion Systems have generated hundreds of millions in investment capital. Unfortunately for individual investors, they remain private companies. If you areauthorized investor, you can search for stocks that someone might be willing to sell. By the way, it is not currently possible to directly purchase the merger company.
Instead, you have two main options.
Invest in investors
First, you can invest inpublicly traded companieswhich themselves invested in the fusion companies.
This is a technology that promises to fundamentally change the energy economy from the ground up, and the big players are not waiting for it. Big tech companies like Alphabet (GOOG) andAmazon (AMZN)they invested in fusion research companies. Lesser known but still large companies like Babcock International ( BCKIF ) and Cenovus Energy ( CVE ) have done the same.
These companies have a significant stake in companies trying to develop fusion technology. If the basic onesinvestmentspay off, the benefits will spread upwards.
Other sources on this topic also recommend investing in companies that can benefit from the results of the merger, namely huge and cheap energy. If you want to do this, we recommend that you simply invest in. The reality is that almost every business will benefit from these productivity gains and cost reductions. There is no good way to pick a clear winner or loser, as all companies rely on energy-intensive resources.
Invest in energy companies
As advanced as it is, fusion is still a fundamental investment in the energy sector. The result is that investors who want to enter this market can do so by taking a long-term position in the energy sector.
You can do this by investing in energy specific companies like Chevron (CVX). You can also invest in utilities that run power plants, such as Duke ( DUK ) or National Grid ( NGG ). Or, you can invest in energy sector funds. This would include mutual funds or ETFs like Vanguard Energy ETF (VDE) or Global X Renewable Energy Producers (RNRG).
This is a long-term investment. Researchers are confident that fusion will become a sustainable, long-term energy source, likely to significantly outlive fossil fuels. It's not here yet, though, and when it does, it'll probably take a long time to really take off. This is a good investment for your retirement portfolio, but probably not for a pool fund.
Investing in fusion through materials
A side investment in nuclear fusion is another potentially good strategy.
Fusion relies on a handful of specialized resources to build its reactors and keep them burning. The fusion fuel source will be a mixture of hydrogen isotopes called deuterium and tritium, although current experimental reactors use only deuterium. For the scientifically curious:
- Hydrogen atom – atom with one proton and one electron
- Deuterium – an atom with one proton, one neutron and one electron
- Tritium – an atom with one proton, two neutrons and an electron
The heavier deuterium and tritium nuclei make it easier to fuse them together and release more energy in the process. As an investor, you can look for companies that produce deuterium gas (tritium is not yet produced in commercial quantities).
You can also search for desalination companies. Isotopes of hydrogen are generally produced from water by separating the oxygen and hydrogen atoms in the molecule from each other. To get enough water without wasting drinking and agricultural supplies, producers will most likely rely on seawater production, which requires large-scale desalination.
Finally, you can look for companies that manufacture the components of the reactor itself. We cannot give concrete advice on this because no one knows what a functional fusion reactor will be made of. Most likely, commercial fusion reactors will rely on superconducting materials to make the core of the electromagnets that contain the reaction. Companies producing materials such as mercury, titanium, niobium alloys and next-generation ceramics are good candidates as long-term suppliers for the fusion reactor core.
Investing in fusion can be one of the most solid bets on long-term future investments. You can do this by investing in companies that are trying to build their own reactors, by investing inenergy sectoror by investing in companies that will one day fuel these reactors.
Tips for investing in energy
- Fusion is the big dream of next generation energy. But before physicists solve that puzzle,there are many ways you can invest in next-generation energy right now.
- A financial advisor can help you build an investment portfolio that includes fusion investments. SmartAssetfree toolconnects you with up to three verified financial advisors serving your area, and you can interview your advisors for free to decide which one is right for you. If you're ready to find an advisor who can help you reach your financial goals,Start now.
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Eric ReedEric Reed is a freelance journalist specializing in economics, politics and global affairs, with significant coverage of finance and personal finance. He has collaborated with media such as The Street, CNBC, Glassdoor and Consumer Reports. Eric's work focuses on the human impact of abstract issues, with an emphasis on analytical journalism that helps readers more fully understand their world and their money. He has reported from more than a dozen countries, with dates including Sao Paolo, Brazil; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Athens, Greece. A former attorney before becoming a journalist, Eric worked in securities litigation and white collar criminal defense with a pro bono specialty in human trafficking matters. He graduated from the University of Michigan Law School and can be found every Saturday in the fall cheering on his Wolverines.
Nuclear fusion stocks are publicly tradable shares of companies involved in the industry. As most nuclear fusion companies are private – and their shares are not sold on open markets – the only way to trade nuclear fusion start-ups is by buying and selling the shares of their investors.Is it possible to invest in nuclear fusion? ›
Investing in fusion may be one of the most solid bets anybody can make on long-term investments in the future. You can do so by investing in companies that are trying to build their own reactors, by investing in the energy sector or by investing in the companies that will someday fuel these reactors.How to invest in Commonwealth Fusion Systems stock? ›
Can you invest in Commonwealth Fusion? Commonwealth Fusion is a privately held company and is not publicly traded on NYSE or NASDAQ in the U.S. To buy pre-IPO shares of a private company, you need to be an accredited investor. Learn more about how to invest in the private market or register today to get started.Why should we invest in nuclear fusion? ›
Fusion power is a clean energy source. It produces no greenhouse gases, uses relatively common materials for fuel, and does not pose the risk of a nuclear meltdown (unlike current nuclear reactors).Can I buy shares in fusion energy? ›
There are no publicly traded companies that operate fusion reactors, because no commercial fusion reactors exist yet. You can't have an industry around a product that only exists as a very convincing theory. That said, this is still a billion-dollar industry, with around $4.8 billion invested as of 2022.Is fusion fuel a good investment? ›
Fusion Fuel Green's analyst rating consensus is a Moderate Buy. This is based on the ratings of 1 Wall Streets Analysts.How much money is invested in fusion? ›
Congress would fund $630 million for Inertial Confinement Fusion, a $50 million increase over 2022, of which at least $380 million will go to funding the NIF. Put together, the $1.4 billion funding for fusion will be a record amount from the U.S. government.How much is the total investment in fusion? ›
Governments have supported research into fusion for decades, but in 2021 private investment surged past public funding. That year, private investors poured $4.44 billion into a pursuit that had only attracted $1.5. billion over the previous five years, according to a recent assessment by McKinsey & Co.How do I buy Helion stock? ›
- Access Shares on Pre-IPO investing platforms. The author has not seen evidence of Helion Energy stock availability on pre-IPO investing platforms. ...
- Buy stock during Helion Energy IPO through a participating broker. ...
- Buy Helion Energy stock after the Helion Energy IPO.
Fusion Invest features advanced analytics, comprehensive asset class coverage and open technology. It can be deployed on cloud or on premise, adapting to your strategic operating model and service needs.
The global fusion energy market is estimated to be $429.6 billion in 2030 and is projected to reach $840.3 billion by 2040, growing at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2031 to 2040. Key Report Highlighters: The fusion energy market size has been analyzed in terms of value ($billion) covering more than 15 countries.How much is Commonwealth Fusion Systems worth? ›
$7.2—10.8b (Dealroom.co estimates Dec 2021.)What stocks to buy for nuclear energy? ›
- Cameco Corp. (CCJ)
- Nuscale Power (SMR)
- U.S. Nuclear (UCLE)
- BHP (BHP)
- Denison Mines (DNN)
- Electricite de France (ECIFY)
- Centrus Energy (LEU)
|First Light Fusion||Private Company||Impact Inertial Confinement|
|Fuse Energy Technologies||Private Company|
|Fusion Reactors||Private Company||Magnetic Confinement Fusion|
|General Atomics||Private Company||Tokamak|
The most popular way to invest in uranium is through buying shares of companies involved in the production and processing of uranium. Stocks of uranium companies can be purchased through an online or traditional brokerage account.