Letter to the Editor

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Nuclear power provides more jobs than other energy sources

To the Editor,

The Nov. 17 opinion piece by Elliott Negin on VirginiaBusiness.com, “Renewable energy and energy efficiency create more jobs than nuclear power,” ignores the fact that electricity demand will rise significantly in the next two decades and will require additional supplies of affordable baseload power.  U.S. nuclear energy facilities have proven their ability to reliably provide electricity around the clock at low cost while stimulating local economies.

Nuclear energy facilities provide more permanent jobs than other sources of electricity, including renewables.  According to the U.S. Department of Energy, for every 1,000 megawatts of generating capacity, nuclear energy creates, on average, 500 jobs, while wind power provides just 90.  The new reactors being built at nuclear energy facilities in Georgia and South Carolina have already brought 3,000 new construction jobs to the local communities.

It is telling that Negin premises his arguments on a federal mandate for renewable energy technologies that may or may not be cost competitive. If energy companies are forced to develop renewable energy projects that don’t make sense economically, then the “new jobs” that Negin’s group promises will be a temporary boon offset by higher energy costs that will damage the economy over the longer term.

Even with energy efficiency programs, Americans will continue to use more electricity. While Negin seems more than willing to hitch Virginia’s energy future to efficiency and intermittent energy sources, it’s unlikely that the political and business leaders who have real skin in the game are willing to do so.

It is good that the renewables-efficiency sector is growing. A diversified, low-carbon energy portfolio that includes nuclear energy will put our economy on sounder, more stable and prosperous footing.

Leslie Kass
Senior director,
business policy and fuel supply
Nuclear Energy Institute
Washington D.C.

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