Jobs – The Weakest Argument for Nuclear

Nuclear Jobs In Perspective

The number of people employed on the construction site will vary over the lifetime of the project. Research by the CITB[1] suggest that even if all eight proposed plants go ahead then employment within the construction industry would peJobs Per Terawatt Hourak at less than 17,000 over the UK. This is an increase of only 0.6%. However this does not take into account “of the possible substitution of other new generating facilities in the absence of NNB, which would inevitably be an outcome given the energy capacity issues that the UK is facing.?

The report also notes that the programme will be spread out over several year and that it is much more capital intensive and less labour intensive than other construction sectors.

In fact nuclear power produces far fewer jobs per Terawatt hour than any other means of energy production[2] (See graph on right – or click here for original blog). This means that nuclear will produce fewer jobs than equivalent alternative energy sources.

Jobs From New Nuclear Compared With Renewables

Nuclear Jobs

The graph above is from research carried out by The Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance[3] – note that this is based on a slightly different scenario than the CITB study. It shows total employment peaking at 14,000 tailing off to under 6,000 permanent jobs when the plants are completed.

However it is important to put this not only in context but also by comparing it with other forms of electricity production.

Wind Jobs

These graphs show the number of jobs predicted for onshore and offshore wind using the Medium Scenario in research carried out by Cambridge Econometrics, the University of Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER) and IFF Research for RenewableUK[4]. It shows that the number of people employed grows gradually with just under 30,000 employed in offshore wind and 10,000 employed in onshore wind by the time the number of jobs in nuclear reaches its peak at 14,000.

Jobs Today Better Than Possible Jobs Tomorrow

The first significant new permanent jobs with new nuclear are not expected to be created until around 2020. However, wind and other renewable technologies are producing jobs and improving local economies now and will do so increasingly in the future. The indirect economic benefits of these developments will have many years head start on nuclear.

Away From Boom and Bust

By their very nature large, capital intensive projects such as new nuclear build produce a boom and bust economy in the local area. This is particularly true of nuclear power stations which tend to be situated in sparsely populated areas. It is unlikely that local people in the area around Sizewell will find similar local employment once the construction boom as passed.

  1. Nuclear New Build Employment Scenarios, CITB ConstructionSkills, http://www.cskills.org/sectorskills/researchfromssc/Nuclear_New_Build_Employment_Scenarios.aspx
  2. The Case for Renewable Energies, José Goldemberg Instituto de Electronica e Energia Universidade de São Paulo, teenet.tei.or.th/Knowledge/Paper/case_for_​renewable.pdf
  3. Next Generation – Skills for New Build Nuclear, The Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance http://www.cogent-ssc.com/research/Publications/Renaissance2.pdf
  4. Working for a Green Britain, RenewableUK, http://www.bwea.com/pdf/publications/Working_for_Green_Britain_V2.pdf
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