Nuclear Power Could Provide Jobs, Energy

<b>Nuclear Power Could Provide Jobs, Energy</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Nuclear energy could play a key role in helping transform America, not only in the way that the nation produces energy, but also by creating new jobs.

America’s 104 nuclear power plants produce three-quarters of our carbon-free electricity and are among the few bright spots in the U.S. economy. Expanding rather than contracting, the nuclear energy industry provides thousands of green jobs.

Electric power companies have filed federal permits to build up to 26 new nuclear plants. Reactor designers and manufacturers are expanding engineering centers and manufacturing facilities and their payrolls.

Nuclear job growth is already underway in North Carolina, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Louisiana. In Lake Charles, La., the Shaw Group and Westinghouse will employ 1,400 workers. In Newport News, Va., Northrop Grumman and AREVA are building a $360 million facility to manufacture massive reactor vessels and stream generators. These and other companies have already hired more than 9,000 employees and invested more than $4 billion in developing new nuclear manufacturing and business operations.

But the green job revolution will not happen automatically. The U.S. electricity industry faces an unprecedented challenge. It must invest between $1.5 trillion and $2 trillion in new power plants, transmission and distribution systems to meet a 25 percent increase in electricity demand by 2030, according to an industry-funded study by the Brattle Group.

To create more jobs, the nuclear energy industry requires financing. The clean energy loan guarantee program authorized by the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which was designed to jump start construction on a few clean energy projects, was an important step in the right direction, but only a small step. The $18.5 billion in loan guarantees currently authorized for new nuclear power projects might support three projects — not even close to the number of nuclear power projects that will start construction over the next several years.

Creating a new federal financing corporation called the Clean Energy Development Bank, modeled after the U.S. Export-Import Bank, could help support green jobs. The bank could ensure that capital flows to clean technology deployment — renewables, advanced coal-based systems, nuclear and other clean fuels — in the electricity sector.

Unlike many of the proposed infrastructure programs that require direct government spending, a Clean Energy Bank will be self-financing. The companies using the program will pay the federal government the cost of providing the guarantee, as well as all administrative expenses, so the program will actually generate revenue. By reducing the cost of capital, the program will reduce electricity prices to all consumers — residential, commercial and industrial.

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