Skip to main content

First U.S. Nuclear Components Facility to Be Built in Louisiana

Map image

The economic ripples of the nuclear renaissance become a bit more tidal today as Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal announced a joint venture between Westinghouse and the Shaw Group to build the first module fabrication and assembly facility in the U.S.focused on constructing components for new and modified nuclear reactors.

Here's some more:

In addition to constructing components for new and modified nuclear reactors, the new Lake Charles facility [Lake Charles is about 60 miles west of Baton Rouge] will have the capability to manufacture modules for chemical sites and petrochemical plants around the world. It will create at least 1,400 jobs in Lake Charles over the next five years at an average salary of $50,000 plus benefits.

We suspect the part of the business devoted to chemical plant elements might decrease as nuclear plant mod building increases, but Shaw could add employees as necessary, too. And the real money quotes:

According to an economic impact analysis performed by Louisiana State University, the Shaw/Westinghouse agreement will result in $17.8 billion in new sales, $4.5 billion in new earnings and 9,205 total new Louisiana jobs, including indirect jobs, over 15 years.

And:

These benefits do not include the value of retaining the majority of Shaw’s existing jobs or the potential for Louisiana to become the national leader in nuclear component manufacturing at a time when the nuclear energy industry is expected to experience rapid growth for decades to come.

We've downplayed Louisiana's package of goodies that has helped to make this happen. You can read about this at the link, but it's not an atypical government/business interaction. The state has three goals at least: to keep The Shaw Group in Louisiana for a guaranteed length of time - 15 years, at least - to further develop professional-level jobs in the state and to grow that corner of the state into a Silicon Valley-like center for nuclear parts fabrication (thus drawing in more businesses). The state has some control over the first two through tax breaks and largesse; the third is a hope that may not come to pass. But if it does, bingo.

Very good news, however you slice it, and a sign of the economic benefits of nuclear energy beyond the actual location and operation of a plant.

Map of Lake Charles, Louisiana. Note the lake - truth in advertising.

 

Comments

David Bradish said…
Lake Charles is a brilliant location because it taps right into the Gulf of Mexico for easy transportation of parts.

Popular posts from this blog

How Nanomaterials Can Make Nuclear Reactors Safer and More Efficient

The following is a guest post from Matt Wald, senior communications advisor at NEI. Follow Matt on Twitter at @MattLWald.

From the batteries in our cell phones to the clothes on our backs, "nanomaterials" that are designed molecule by molecule are working their way into our economy and our lives. Now there’s some promising work on new materials for nuclear reactors.

Reactors are a tough environment. The sub atomic particles that sustain the chain reaction, neutrons, are great for splitting additional uranium atoms, but not all of them hit a uranium atom; some of them end up in various metal components of the reactor. The metal is usually a crystalline structure, meaning it is as orderly as a ladder or a sheet of graph paper, but the neutrons rearrange the atoms, leaving some infinitesimal voids in the structure and some areas of extra density. The components literally grow, getting longer and thicker. The phenomenon is well understood and designers compensate for it with a …

Missing the Point about Pennsylvania’s Nuclear Plants

A group that includes oil and gas companies in Pennsylvania released a study on Monday that argues that twenty years ago, planners underestimated the value of nuclear plants in the electricity market. According to the group, that means the state should now let the plants close.

Huh?

The question confronting the state now isn’t what the companies that owned the reactors at the time of de-regulation got or didn’t get. It’s not a question of whether they were profitable in the '80s, '90s and '00s. It’s about now. Business works by looking at the present and making projections about the future.

Is losing the nuclear plants what’s best for the state going forward?

Pennsylvania needs clean air. It needs jobs. And it needs protection against over-reliance on a single fuel source.


What the reactors need is recognition of all the value they provide. The electricity market is depressed, and if electricity is treated as a simple commodity, with no regard for its benefit to clean air o…

Why Nuclear Plant Closures Are a Crisis for Small Town USA

Nuclear plants occupy an unusual spot in the towns where they operate: integral but so much in the background that they may seem almost invisible. But when they close, it can be like the earth shifting underfoot.

Lohud.com, the Gannett newspaper that covers the Lower Hudson Valley in New York, took a look around at the experience of towns where reactors have closed, because the Indian Point reactors in Buchanan are scheduled to be shut down under an agreement with Gov. Mario Cuomo.


From sea to shining sea, it was dismal. It wasn’t just the plant employees who were hurt. The losses of hundreds of jobs, tens of millions of dollars in payrolls and millions in property taxes depressed whole towns and surrounding areas. For example:

Vernon, Vermont, home to Vermont Yankee for more than 40 years, had to cut its municipal budget in half. The town closed its police department and let the county take over; the youth sports teams lost their volunteer coaches, and Vernon Elementary School lost th…