By Andrew Nusca
Posting in Energy
Nuclear power may have the U.S. president's backing, but its stigma has left the industry with a graying workforce that needs a shot in the arm to the tune of some 25,000 workers.
At least that's what reporter Jonathan Berr says, who writes on DailyFinance that an aging workforce may be a major hurdle in President Obama's attempt to infuse the industry with some $8.33 billion in loan guarantees to build new nuclear reactors.
The problem: Nuclear catastrophes over the years, such as the Three Mile Island incident, have discouraged folks to enter the industry.
Now, those who are left in the highly-trained workforce are nearing the age for retirement.
That's a problem, since 18 commercial nuclear projects are under consideration, according to the Energy Information Administration.
Just last year, the Nuclear Energy Institute wrote in a report that "to maintain the current nuclear work force, the industry may need to hire as many as 25,000 more workers in the next five years."
The problem? Nuclear power is as much as political issue as it is an environmental or economic one.
Mar 2, 2010
@lefty.crupps: You are right about the amount of fuel if we limit ourselves to what is mined. However, breeder reactors can produce more fuel, and new designs using spent fuel rods are on the drawing boards. Today I even read an article in the Wall Street Journal on recovering uranium from the ash of coal-fired power plants. It won't last forever, but there's enough nuclear fuel to keep us going until we find something better.
CAP & TRADE ENSURES THE STATUS QUO FOR OPEC AND TERRORISM With the world in recession and US unemployment figures hovering around 10% the EPA exceeds its authority and determines CO2 is a pollutant that must be regulated. But America has natural gas and coal in abundance and could eliminate dependence on foreign oil, stop sending billions to countries that sponsor terrorism and save 100s of billions on unnecessary Middle East wars. And it is estimated that every billion in trade deficit equals 13,000 jobs lost. Washington could keep money, technology and jobs in the US by reducing the trade imbalance.
Last I heard, this whole argument was a joke because there isn't enough nuclear material for the current number of power plants to keep producing for too long, so whats the point of even building more? This is well known for years now, so why are we having these debates? http://web.mit.edu/newsoffice/2007/fuel-supply.html http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/industrials/article555314.ece
People are resistant to investing their futures in an industry that has been vilified for decades, and who's existence is almost completely dependent upon the whims of politicians. Can't imagine why.