It would be difficult to deny that the future of nuclear energy appears to be shaky at best. Although a nuclear revival seemed promising just a decade ago, a combination of cheaper energy alternatives, apathetic demand, and more stringent regulatory and safety concerns have led to the forced closings of four nuclear plants this year alone. In addition to these four closures, two other nuclear plants are currently at a crossroads while dozens more are finding themselves at risk of early retirement.
Although 2013 has proven to be a bleak year in the nuclear power sector, officials remain optimistic. One particular power plant currently under scrutiny, the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant located in Buchanon, New York, believes they will be able to make a deal in renewing their license. Indian Point, which has been generating nuclear power for more than 40 years, currently provides a quarter of New York City and Westchester’s power and employs 1,000 permanent workers in addition to its 200 on-site contract workers; this allows Indian Point to contribute a total of $147- million in payroll for full-time employees on an annual basis. Indian Point is not a unique situation; statistically, power plants do generate the majority of power in their regions and positively contribute to the economy on both a local and national level by employing a generous number of workers.
Despite the year’s closures and canceled power plant upgrades, hope in the nuclear sector remains. Four new reactors are currently under construction in both Georgia and South Carolina, while research is underway to develop smaller, more modular reactors that would alleviate concerns surrounding the high upfront costs and major infrastructure necessary for traditional nuclear power. Although distribution is still years away, small modular reactors could pave the way for an entirely new nuclear market in developing parts of the world that do not yet have the capital for large-scale plants.
While current market conditions may look differently, experts from the Nuclear Energy Institute believe the outlook for nuclear power is still strong. With sector trends and conditions constantly evolving, it is crucial for energy workers to stay up to date in the market and be aware if and when the time comes to make an energy career move. FootBridge Staffing has been working alongside top energy companies and professionals in the sectors for more than a decade and prides itself on being able to see ahead of the curve. For more information on career opportunities in the nuclear industry, contact FootBridge Energy today!