by Jarret Adams
In this difficult economic climate, there has been much talk among policymakers and others about investing the energy infrastructure and creating new green jobs. Renewables are often mentioned are key elements in creating green jobs, but often overlooked is the contribution that investment in nuclear energy is already making in creating green jobs.
By the end of 2008, approximately 15,000 new jobs had been created by private investment in new nuclear power plants, according to a recent NEI study. The study projects that if all 26 reactor projects that have submitted license applications are built more than 60,000 new construction jobs will be created.
This includes only new nuclear power plant construction, which each would require about 2,500 workers at peak times. But the nuclear energy industry requires many other facilities, for manufacturing, enrichment, etc., that will also require significant numbers of workers.
Some have suggested the reason nuclear energy did not figure more prominently in the recent stimulus package is that the jobs nuclear projects will create are longer term and not “shovel-ready.” This is simply not true.
AREVA, with its partner Northrop Grumman, plans to break ground this summer on a new facility in Newport News, Va., for manufacturing heavy components for nuclear plants. This project will create more than 500 skilled jobs. The output from this facility also will enable AREVA to provide 90 percent American content for its U.S. EPR™ reactor.
AREVA also is developing its Eagle Rock Enrichment Facility, which the company plans to build outside Idaho Falls. This multibillion-dollar facility will require 1,000 workers to build and 350 to operate once complete. The company estimates the project will create approximately 5,000 direct and indirect jobs through the life of the project.
We are also hiring significant numbers of engineers to complete the detailed design work for our U.S. EPR reactor. In effect, AREVA is making significant investment to help revive the nuclear energy industry in the United States. However, the fate of these projects still will depend on the ability to finance these projects and the U.S. government loan guarantee program will play a critical role in this.
AREVA’s competitors also are developing facilities that will create many additional jobs. All together, firms involved in clean energy clan play a significant role in helping kick-start the economy with new jobs and create the energy infrastructure that the nation will need in years to come.
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