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Rapid Response: Activists Report Disregards Thousands Of US Jobs From Nuclear Energy Loan Guarantees, July 1, 2010

A new report, “Nuclear Power: Implications of Loan Guarantees for Reactors with Foreign Control and Foreign Jobs,” from the Nuclear Information and Resource Service (NIRS) claims loan guarantees for nuclear energy will benefit foreign-owned companies and provide little in the way of jobs for U.S. workers. In reality, loan guarantees for nuclear power will help build plants that will create thousands of local jobs and boost manufacturing and other facets of the American economy.

Thousands of new workers have been hired in the nuclear energy industry in the past few years to support new reactor development, including nearly 1,000 at active new reactor construction sites in Georgia and South Carolina.
More than $2 billion has been spent in the United States on equipment and services for new reactors.

Myth: Loan guarantees for nuclear energy are “a huge publicly backed support mechanism for foreign-owned companies and non-U.S. workers.”

The Facts: Loan guarantees for nuclear energy projects will directly create thousands of jobs for workers in the United States. Furthermore, loan guarantee recipients must pay a fee for the privilege of receiving a loan guarantee, plus cover all administrative costs. There is no cost to the taxpayer. It is not a subsidy or bailout.

While the groups leading the Calvert Cliffs (UniStar Nuclear) and South Texas Project (NRG, Toshiba and TEPCO) projects have substantial foreign-ownership, these projects will create thousands of good-paying jobs for U.S. workers at these plant sites and at manufacturing facilities around the country. Loan guarantees are an appropriate and necessary part of “restarting” the nuclear industry.

Consider these facts:

  • Southern Co. and the Shaw Group have stated that about 80 percent of dollars spent on the components (including wiring, piping and tubing that will be ordered for the Westinghouse AP1000 reactors) and labor to be used in building two reactors at Plant Vogtle in Georgia (the first recipient of a DOE loan guarantee) will come from U.S. sources.
  • For three of the five lead nuclear power plants, more than $2 billion of equipment and services has already been procured from U.S. manufacturers in 17 states.
  • Three of the five design-centered project teams for these new plants have set procurement and labor goals of between 75 percent and 90 percent of U.S. content and are on target to achieve those goals. This represents potential U.S. orders for commodities, components and services of around $50 billion for the first wave of new U.S. nuclear plants.
  • NEI estimates that private investment in new nuclear power plants has created 14,000-15,000 American jobs. This is without the start of major construction, but only includes preparation work and manufacturing ramp-up.
  • Generally, construction of a new nuclear power plant represents 1,400-1,800 jobs during construction, with peak employment as high as 2,400 jobs.
  • A new nuclear plant will represent approximately 700 permanent jobs for several generations of workers (since nuclear plants are expected to operate for at least 60 years).
  • Both construction and operation jobs are local jobs that cannot be outsourced or exported. Many of these positions will be union jobs and there is strong support for the federal loan guarantee program by organized labor. Read “Resurgent Industry Primes for a Revival,” on the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers’ website for more.
  • As more and more nuclear energy facilities are built both here and abroad, the U.S. nuclear manufacturing base will grow and thousands of U.S. jobs will be created. Though not directly connected with loan guarantees, building new plants both in the United States and in other nations will help foster a nuclear resurgence, creating even more jobs.
  • AREVA and Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding are building a new manufacturing facility in Newport News, Va. The facility will manufacture heavy components, such as reactor vessels, steam generators and pressurizers, creating more than 500 skilled hourly and salaried local jobs.
  • Shaw Modular Solutions is a 410,000-square-foot nuclear modularization facility at the Port of Lake Charles that assembles structural, piping, equipment, and other modules for new nuclear plants using the Westinghouse AP1000 technology. Operations began in mid-2009. The site will employ between 700 and 1,400 local workers at full capacity.
  • GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy is investing $704 million to expand its 1,600-acre campus near Wilmington, N.C. The company is adding new manufacturing, training, simulation and testing facilities. The facility will create 900 new, local jobs over the next five years.

For more information on U.S. based jobs created by the nuclear industry see the NEI website.