Nuclear industry has an economic impact of more than $20 billion annually in North and South Carolina combined, a recent analysis suggests.
The Clemson University study, commissioned by the Carolina’ Nuclear Cluster, an industry coalition, says the nuclear industry in both states directly provides 29,000 jobs.
Likewise, the industry has more than $2.2 billion in direct payroll, and more than $950 million paid in state and local taxes, research shows.
The study explains that total direct impacts are from employment associated with the generation of power at seven nuclear stations in North and South Carolina, corporate nuclear functions, new construction, and employment at the Savannah River and Barnwell sites in South Carolina.
Researchers used purchases and payroll data from these businesses in their evaluation.
“Residents and businesses in the Carolinas receive real economic benefits from the nuclear industry through jobs, income creation and the multiplier of spending,” says Dr. Scott Mason, lead researcher at Clemson University. “This study not only looked at the impact of the operating nuclear plants but also producers of nuclear fuel, engineering and procurement companies, suppliers and subcontractors, and others.”
According to the Charlotte Observer, six of the seven aforementioned nuclear facilities are owned by Charlotte-based Duke Energy.
“Nuclear power supplies about one-third of North Carolina’s electricity and more than half of South Carolina,” the newspaper report says.
The news report also states that the majority of U.S. companies “that design, build, supply, and maintain nuclear plants have a presence in Charlotte.”
The cascading effect of dollars created by the nuclear industry and used in communities in both states is estimated to add another $2 billion in indirect payroll, so that some 100,000 jobs are touched by the nuclear industry for a total of $4.2 billion in payroll, according to the study.
HOW TO GROW THE INDUSTRY
Growth in this industry can be enhanced with businesses that provide on-going maintenance and instrumentation upgrades in the facilities throughout both states and across the nation.
That’s according to Jim Little, a 40-year veteran of the nuclear energy industry and the chair of the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster.
“The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster has encouraged additional suppliers to locate and grow their businesses in the Carolinas,” he says. “These suppliers can provide materials to the nuclear industry domestically and multi-nationally as well as to other industries.”
He adds that examples of businesses in the nuclear supply chain are industrial supply firms, valve manufacturers, motor and pump makers, design firms, maintenance companies and services such as security and laboratories.
Also, the ability of companies to sell materials across the supply chain of nuclear and other energy generation sources helps companies maintain a portfolio of sales opportunities and can strengthen a supplier’s business position, Little says.
“The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is working to build a strong industry network because we understand this country must have a balanced generation portfolio,” he adds.
Dhiaa Jamil, Duke Energy’s President of Nuclear, echoes similar sentiments.
“The economic contributions of nuclear energy in the Carolinas have proven to be sustainable – providing low-cost, safe and reliable electricity across the region for more than four decades,” Jamil says.
About the Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster
The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster brings together the nuclear industry, higher education and nonprofits to address important policy and business opportunities in North and South Carolina. The Carolinas’ Nuclear Cluster is under the umbrella of E4Carolinas, a not-for-profit corporation that convenes industry, research and educational institutions, innovators, economic development organizations, and public leaders to coordinate the energy cluster in the Carolinas.
About Industry Clusters: Created as an economic development concept by Harvard Business School Professor Michael Porter, an industry cluster is a geographically proximate group of companies and associated institutions in a particular field, linked by commonalities and complementaries. Porter says successful clusters have linked organizations that range from manufacturing to suppliers, service providers and educators.