·Nuclear energy facilities provide substantial economic benefits during their decades of operation. The hundreds of jobs, taxes, and direct and secondary impacts strengthen the economies of communities and states with nuclear power plants.
·The typical nuclear energy facility creates $470 million in economic output in the local area, including $40 million in labor income each year. These large industrial facilities employ 400 to 700 workers at salaries that are 36 percent higher than the average amount for other workers in their areas. A nuclear energy facility also stimulates the creation of several hundred more jobs in the area to support the facility and its employees, from dry cleaners and grocery stores to businesses that sell industrial supplies.
·Analyses show that every dollar spent by the typical nuclear energy facility results in the creation of $1.04 in the local community, $1.18 in the state economy and $1.87 in the U.S. economy. Typically, a nuclear energy facility pays $16 million in state and local taxes annually. These tax dollars benefit schools, roads, and other state and local infrastructure. The typical nuclear energy facility also pays federal taxes of $67 million annually.
·Building a nuclear energy facility requires up to 3,500 workers at peak construction. Construction of a nuclear power plant also boosts suppliers of commodities like concrete and steel as well as manufacturers of hundreds of components.
·The nuclear energy industry employs more than 100,000 people in high quality, career-long jobs. Due in part to a wave of expected retirements, the industry expects to hire about 20,000 workers over the next five years.
Q&A on Job Creation and Economic Benefits of Nuclear Energy
What is the economic impact of a nuclear energy facility on the local community?
Nuclear power plants are large industrial facilities that employ 400 to 700 people, depending on the size of the facility. The wages paid to nuclear power plant workers average 36 percent higher than for other local jobs, and these wages boost local business revenue as they filter throughout the economy.
Studies by the Nuclear Energy Institute have found that the presence of a nuclear energy facility stimulates the creation of an equivalent number of jobs in the local area, from grocers and car repair shops to companies that sell industrial equipment and components. The average nuclear energy facility generates $470 million in economic output including $40 million in labor income each year. These facilities also pay an average of $16 million in state and local taxes which help support schools and infrastructure such as roads. For more information, a map of nuclear energy facilities in the United States is available.
What kinds of jobs does the nuclear energy industry provide?
The nuclear industry employs more than 100,000 people in a wide range of skilled jobs including nuclear and mechanical engineers, reactor operators, health professionals, skilled craft workers—machinists, electricians and others—as well as lawyers, personnel managers and just about every other type of job required to run a business. Like many other industries, it has a large contingent of baby boomers among its workforce, and nearly 40 percent of them are eligible to retire within the next few years. Based on these figures and actual hiring over the past several years, the industry expects to hire about 4,000 workers a year for the next five years, or a total of 20,000 workers.
Do you foresee any challenges in filling these jobs?
Several years ago, the industry started looking closely at its workforce needs and the education pipeline to determine where there might be gaps—jobs we could have trouble filling because not enough students are preparing for them. Based on what we learned, the industry has partnered with 35 two-year educational institutions to prepare students for well-paying jobs as technicians in maintenance, chemistry and radiation protection and as non-licensed operators. Part of the project involved developing a nationally recognized uniform nuclear energy curriculum, and programs at participating schools go through an accreditation process to provide the curriculum.
A 2011 survey by the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education found that undergraduate enrollment in nuclear engineering increased 30 percent over the previous year.