Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nuclear Power Plant Contributions to State and Local Economies

NEI has written about 10 economic benefits studies so far on 22 U.S. nuclear plants which discuss the contributions the plants make to the state and local economies. After conducting studies on about a third of the U.S. plants, we had enough data to create a general fact sheet on the economic benefits of a nuclear plant. Here are some highlights:

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

The 400 to 700 permanent jobs at a nuclear plant create an equivalent number of additional jobs in the local area to provide the goods and services necessary to support the nuclear plant work force (e.g., grocery stores, dry cleaners, car dealers, etc.).

Building a new nuclear plant would result in the creation of 1,400 to 1,800 jobs during construction, on average (with peak employment as high as 2,400 jobs at certain times).


Analysis shows that every dollar spent by the average nuclear plant results in the creation of $1.07 in the local community.

The average nuclear plant generates total state and local tax revenue of almost $20 million each year. These tax dollars benefit schools, roads, and other state and local infrastructure.

The average nuclear plant generates federal tax payments of roughly $75 million each year.


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:

1. 400,000 cubic yards of concrete—as much concrete as was used to build the Pentagon

2. 66,000 tons of steel—the same amount used to build the Empire State Building

3. 44 miles of piping

4. 300 miles of electric wiring—enough to stretch from Boston to Philadelphia

5. 130,000 electrical components.

Keep these links in your notes so if someone asks you what are the benefits of a nuclear plant, you can answer.

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Anonymous said...

The antinukes can now finally drop the issue of subsidies: taxes paid dwarf subsidies received. Tallying state, local and federal taxes gives about $100 million per year, per plant. I'm assuming "plant" means reactor site rather than reactor, in which case the industry total is about 5 billion per year. This tally far exceeds anything in the way of subsidies the industry might recieve in a year, even if you accept something like the 2000 REPP study as realistic, which I certainly don't.

Joffan said...

"The antinukes can now finally drop the issue of subsidies"

- you wish. Like they can drop the issue of deadly meltdowns, radioactive emissions, green glowing waste with million-year lethality, aeroplane crashes, and a whole trail of other fallacies.

One so-called subsidy I've never been able to figure out is Price-Anderson. This forces a high level of insurance onto each nuclear operator and on top of that exposes them to liability for other operators mistakes, but still it's described as a subsidy. For the insurance business, I guess.

Stewart Peterson said...

>>Keep these links in your notes so if someone asks you what are the benefits of a nuclear plant, you can answer.

Those are economic benefits; shouldn't we be more promoting the clean-air and health benefits?

Also, are those component statistics for Gen II or Gen III?

David Bradish said...


Economics is the primary factor of getting a plant up and running. And that's the main reason nuclear is back on the table. So if we can show how many jobs would be created to the communities, I'm guessing people would rather have jobs first and then clean air second.

Anonymous said...

Stewart and David, how about promoting both. Clean air and positive economics makes for a winning message, IMO. Throw in reliability and a secure energy supply, and it's a tough one to beat. I say we play all the cards in our hand the best way we can.

Stewart Peterson said...


Where I come from, the first person to use the word "jobs" loses any public policy debate--you have to argue on environmental and health impact only, meaning you can be a lot more creative with the positive side effects, however remote and speculative, but your hands are tied when it comes to economics. You can prove that it's "not expensive," but only if asked, and you can never say it's cheap, or you'll never hear the end of "raping the environment for corporate profits" etc.--anything about "jobs" gets quoted back at you forever, even if it's one statement in a week-long series of hourly discussions or debates. So I've always tried to prove that nuclear power is a good idea in the abstract, even if it had no economic impact, because the dominant (socialist) idea is that no business ever has to worry about money; businesses apparently operate on different rules that involve sacks of cash falling from the sky on regular intervals.

On the other hand, where I come from, "Republican" is a four-letter word and probably the worst insult you can use, so I don't know how much you can make of the above.

Anonymous said...

Stewart, that is quite fascinating. If "jobs" is a four-letter word where you live (maybe Maynard Krebs founded the place), I am wondering what that place is called, maybe something like "Neverland", or "Through The Looking Glass"? I mean, what keeps the local economy going? Are those sacks of cash that fall from the sky just distributed to everyone like manna? Do the people that live there have any clue as to how wealth and prosperity are created? Or is it all just deus ex machina?

Anonymous said...


Actually the 2000 REPP study counted $30 billion as an "indirect" subsidy due for the period between 1947 and 1999. Now I think this number is imaginary rather than "indirect", but let's say it is accurate for the sake of discussion. Won't the nuclear power industry pay this back in a few years, assuming we start from 2006? Hasn't the industry already paid this back, and then some? What part of cost vs. benefit do you not understand?