Whitman's New Nuclear Job

Christine Whitman with Rudy GiulianiAt the Nuclear Energy Institute's (NEI's) recent conference, Penn, Schoen & Berland pollster Craig T. Smith said the industry would soon be emphasizing the employment opportunities created by building new nuclear power plants. On June 17, the NEI front group "Clean and Safe Energy Coalition" (CASEnergy) released a white paper titled "Job Creation in the Nuclear Renaissance." CASEnergy co-chair Christine Todd Whitman said, "There's a reason why nuclear plant neighbors are so in favor of nuclear plants, and that's because they're economic generators for their communities." The white paper gives figures of "610,000 high-paying jobs," if "the U.S. builds 33 to 41 new nuclear power plants." But NEI estimates (pdf) that -- under favorable conditions -- four to eight new nuclear plants may come online by 2016. A 2004 study (pdf) by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimated that deriving 20 percent of U.S. electricity from renewable sources by 2020 would create 355,000 "high-paying jobs."


As a person with many nuclear trained friends and associates, I am not sure why the phrase "high-paying jobs" shows up in quotes. Is there any doubt that people in the nuclear business earn good salaries?

The data are pretty clear, nuclear engineers share honors as the highest paying engineering job with petroleum engineers, and even the technicians in the business generally make salaries high enough to allow a single wage earner to provide a good lifestyle for a family.

The jobs are demanding, the training standards are high, and the workers have to pass many security and reliability background checks. No matter what you might think of the technology, it does provide "high-paying jobs".

Rod Adams
Editor, Atomic Insights
Host, The Atomic Show Podcast
Founder, Adams Atomic Engines, Inc.