Fact Sheets

Nuclear Energy Facilities Contribute Significantly to State and Local Economies

This fact sheet details the continued economic impact of a nuclear power from construction through operation. Covered are direct economic benefits, affordable electricity and the value of environmental benefits.

September 2013


Key Facts

· NEI estimates that private investment in new nuclear energy facilities has created 15,000 clean energy jobs since 2005.

· Each year, the average nuclear plant generates approximately $470 million in economic output or value. This includes over $35 million in total labor income.1

· Operation of a nuclear plant generates 400 to 700 permanent jobs. These jobs pay 36 percent more than average salaries in the local area.

· The permanent jobs at a nuclear plant create an equivalent number of additional jobs to provide the goods and services necessary to support the nuclear plant.

· Construction of a new nuclear power plant creates up to 3,500 jobs at peak construction.


Nuclear Plant Economic Benefits

Each year, the average nuclear plant generates approximately $470 million in economic output or value. This includes over $35 million in total labor income. These figures include both direct output and secondary effects. The direct output reflects the plant’s annual electricity sales—approximately $453 million. The secondary effects at the local level—approximately $17 million—include subsequent spending attributable to the presence of the plant and its employees as plant expenditures filter through the local economy. There are also secondary effects outside the local area, at the state and national level. For a nominal 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant, these secondary effects are $80 million and $393 million, respectively.

Analysis shows that every dollar spent by the average nuclear plant 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.

The average nuclear plant pays about $16 million in state and local taxes annually. These tax dollars benefit schools, roads, and other state and local infrastructure. The average nuclear plant also pays federal taxes of $67 million annually.


New Nuclear Plant Construction Will Boost Local, State Economies

Nuclear power plants provide substantial economic benefits during their decades of operation. The jobs, taxes, and direct and secondary impacts strengthen the economies of communities with nuclear plants and will give a similar boost to any community hosting a new nuclear plant.

A new nuclear plant represents an investment of $6 billion to $8 billion including interest, depending on plant size.

Construction of a new nuclear power plant will provide a substantial boost to suppliers of commodities like concrete and steel and manufacturers of hundreds of components. For example, a single new nuclear power plant requires approximately:

· 400,000 cubic yards of concrete—as much concrete as was used to build the Pentagon

· 66,000 tons of steel—the same amount used to build the Empire State Building

· 44 miles of piping

· 300 miles of electric wiring—enough to stretch from Boston to Philadelphia

· 130,000 electrical components.


Affordable Electricity Production

Nuclear energy is the lowest-cost producer of baseload electricity. The average production cost has remained well below 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for the past 18 years. This includes the costs of operating and maintaining the plant, purchasing nuclear fuel, and paying for the management of used fuel. The cost of producing electricity with nuclear energy has been lower than that of coal-fired generation since 2000 and significantly lower than natural gas since 1995. In 2012, the average production cost for nuclear-generated electricity was 2.4 cents per kWh, compared with coal, 3.27 cents per kWh; natural gas, 3.4 cents; and petroleum, 22.48 cents. 

Compared to fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, nuclear-generated electricity has tremendous price stability because only 31 percent of production costs are fuel costs. Fuel accounts for 80 percent to 90 percent of the cost of electricity produced by fossil fuel-fired generation, making electricity from fossil plants highly susceptible to fluctuations in coal and gas prices.

The low and stable cost of nuclear power helps reduce the price of electricity paid by consumers.

For more, see NEI’s white paper titled “Nuclear Energy’s Economic Benefits—Current and Future.”


The estimates in this fact sheet are based on normalized averages from analyses of the economic and employment impact of 23 U.S. nuclear plants. The figures are calculated per megawatt (MW) of installed capacity and reflect a nominal 1,000-MW plant size. The analyses employ the U.S. government’s widely used IMPLAN model for estimating direct and indirect economic and employment effects of industrial activity.