Although the energy industry as a whole continues to thrive and flourish, some doubts have recently come to surface in regards to changes in the nuclear power sector. With the cancellation of new nuclear plants and the decommissioning of others, where will we make up the power? What does this mean for jobs and potential nuclear builds in the future? While these points may make the future of nuclear power seem bleak, that is just not the case.
Nuclear power is one of the most cost-effective and safest base loads of zero-carbon energy. Over the last year alone, nuclear energy provided the United States with 180 times more power than the solar energy sector as a whole. Despite the recent decommisioning plans of several nuclear power plants such as the highly publicized Crystal River 3, the U.S. continues to employ 100 operable units with three new plants under construction; this contributes to our nation’s current status as the world’s largest leading producer of nuclear power, accounting for more than 30% of the world’s total electricity generation.
While the nuclear power sector may not be flawless, it has and continues to learn from its mistakes. Decommissioning a plant is no small feat. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has very strict rules governing nuclear power plant decommissioning, including the cleanup of radioactively contaminated plant systems and structures as well as the removal of radioactive fuel. From start to finish, nuclear power plant decommissioning is a several year commitment at minimum. As a result of the recent decommissionings, the NRC has placed emphasis on preventing premature decommissioning of current and future power plants by placing stringent regulations on plant operation requirements beginning as early as the initial design phase.
When the economy was facing its biggest hurdle on a national level, the push for more wind and solar power generation changed the competitive landscape, lowering wholesale prices in some markets at a time when older nuclear plants began to struggle with rising costs. As time has passed, it has become increasingly more apparent that wind and solar power need to viewed as a separate entity from nuclear power all together. In addition to its low overall costs, impeccable safety regulations and improved future planning, nuclear energy cannot just go away. Because power plants are typically built in less populated rural areas, nuclear power quickly becomes a key contributor to a community’s regional economy, providing tax revenue and hundreds of well-paying jobs as well as large amounts of electricity that cannot be replaced on short notice.
The last few years have been challenging in the history of nuclear power, however, trends and statistics lead us to believe the best is yet to come. With power plant construction on the rise both nationally and internationally in the upcoming year, it is important to make sure you are partnering with a trusted staffing firm that understands the trends, changes, and where the energy industry is headed. If you’re ready to find your next career in the energy sector, contact the energy staffing experts at FootBridge Energy today!