Nuclear Power Offers Clean Energy, Jobs

<b>Nuclear Power Offers Clean Energy, Jobs</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – The carbon-free, electricity-producing nuclear energy industry might play a key role in solving America’s energy and economic woes. The energy source provides clean energy, and the facilities designed to produce that energy create jobs.

“In addition to producing carbon-free electricity, expansion of nuclear energy generation will serve other national imperatives,” said Carol Berrigan, the Nuclear Energy Institute’s senior director of industry infrastructure, in her testimony before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee. “Construction of new nuclear power plants will create tens of thousands of jobs in product development, construction, operations and manufacturing. A robust nuclear construction program will also significantly expand the U.S. manufacturing sector and the domestic nuclear supply chain.”

Only 104 nuclear power plants run in the United States, yet they supply 20 percent of the nation’s energy. And nuclear energy provides 72 percent of America’s greenhouse gas-free, air pollutant-free energy supply.

New Senate legislation, as put forth by Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer, calls for an 83 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. To meet that goal, America will need 187 new nuclear power plants, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In addition to supplying energy, nuclear power plants will create much-needed jobs. Today, every working nuclear power plant employs 400 to 700 people. But plants also rely on vendors, specialty contractors and contractual skilled labor.

According to the National Commission on Energy Policy, each new power plant will need 14,360 man-years per gigawatt. Plants will employ welders, pipefitters, masons, carpenters, millwrights, sheet metal workers, electricians, ironworkers, heavy equipment operators, engineers, project managers and construction supervisors, among others. New nuclear plants will also need parts, creating jobs in the manufacturing sector as supply chains develop.

But building power plants is also expensive — without encouraging legislation from Congress, such as tax incentives and a permanent financing platform, nuclear energy won’t live up to its environmental and economic potential.

As Berrigan said, “A program to expand reliance on nuclear energy to meet U.S. climate change goals … will require a sustained partnership between federal and state governments, and the private sector, including additional policy support from the federal government.”

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