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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Nuclear Power Key to Low-Carbon Plans

<b>Nuclear Power Key to Low-Carbon Plans</b>“></td>
<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – As climate and energy bills work their way through Congress, it’s clear that the Obama administration wants to assert America’s energy independence. No single electricity-generating technology can meet America’s future energy needs by itself. But nuclear energy must play a significant role in any viable plan to meet the nation’s energy needs and reduce carbon emissions.

Nuclear energy can compete from a cost standpoint with other sources of electricity. While coal and natural gas plants may be less expensive to build — new nuclear plants are estimated to cost $6 billion to $8 billion — nuclear energy produces electricity using less fuel and with lower operating costs.

There’s also the issue of life span, which varies depending on the technology and makes a difference in evaluating up-front construction costs: Nuclear plants can operate for 60 and possibly 80 years. Wind turbines have an average lifespan of 20 to 30 years, according to Minneapolis-based National Wind, a developer of large-scale wind farms.

Aggressive carbon caps under consideration in Washington will make nuclear energy more attractive. Nuclear power plants do not generate carbon emissions. At the same time, nuclear plants require less acreage and provide more reliable electricity than wind, solar and biomass generators.

A biomass fuel cultivation area would have to be larger than Delaware to replace a nuclear power plant. To produce the same amount of electricity as a 2-unit nuclear power plant, a wind farm would need to be 10 times larger than Washington, D.C.

Consider this: The much-publicized Texas wind farm project that T. Boone Pickens recently postponed was estimated to cost $10 billion and require up to 200,000 acres. This cost didn’t include the estimated $3 billion to $6 billion in additional transmission necessary to distribute the energy from its source.

Space constraints and reliability issues prevent renewable sources of electricity from becoming primary power sources. While renewable sources of electricity should pay important roles in a diverse energy profile, an emission-free future will require nuclear power. This position has been embraced by a bipartisan majority in the U.S. Congress and by various environmental groups. Tony Kreindler, media director of the Environmental Defense Fund, put it succinctly when he recently said, “Given the scope of the climate problem and the emissions problem, we need to look at all the energy options we have, and nuclear is one of them.”

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Nuclear Power Could Provide Jobs, Energy

<b>Nuclear Power Could Provide Jobs, Energy</b>“></td>
<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.