The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Nuclear jobs in decline – renewable energy jobs rising fast – 13 times more jobs than in nuclear power.

No2Nuclear  No 96 June 2017 According to the Office for National Statistics the number of full-time equivalent (FTE) direct jobs in the nuclear industry had declined to 12,400 by 2015, but about 9,400 of these workers do not produce electricity at all. They are engaged mostly in legacy nuclear waste management.

In 2015 ONS reported that the number of FTE direct jobs in the renewable forms of electricity generation had increased to 48,900 – about 16 times the number of jobs in nuclear electricity generation. (2) In 2015, 338 TWh of electricity was produced in the UK (DECC data). This comprised 70 TWh from nuclear, 85TWh from renewables and the rest from fossil fuels. (3) That amounts to about 43 jobs per TWh for nuclear and about 575 jobs per TWh for renewables. So not only are renewables cheaper than nuclear, but they also create around 13 times more jobs than nuclear power.

Offshore wind is becoming a double win for policymakers, according to Ray Thompson, Head of Business Development at Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy. He says offshore wind is coming to represent a major challenge to competing technologies. The new Siemens blade manufacturing facility and project execution harbour in Hull which opened in December 2016 has already created 800 new jobs and the numbers on site will rise to over 1,000 when full production is reached. (4)

Renewable energy jobs could “offset” fossil-fuel job losses by 2030 according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Renewable Energy and Jobs – Annual Review 2017 presents the status of renewable energy employment, both by technology and in selected countries, over the past year. In this fourth edition, IRENA finds that renewable energy employed 9.8 million people around the world in 2016 – a 1.1% increase over 2015. Jobs in renewables, excluding large hydropower, increased by 2.8% to reach 8.3 million in 2016. China, No2NuclearPower nuClear news No.96, June 2017 8 Brazil, the United States, India, Japan and Germany accounted for most of the renewable energy jobs. The shift to Asia continued, with 62% of the global total located in the continent. (5) Nuclear Power and Jobs

A policy which promotes nuclear power significantly diminishes the prospects of creating new jobs in renewable energy industries – in establishing an offshore wind manufacturing base for instance.

Nuclear power is a capital intensive industry, which means it requires a much higher injection of money to produce its final product – it is not a very efficient way of creating jobs. If there were an alternative way of providing or saving the same amount of electricity, but at the same time creating more jobs, clearly that would be a strategy worth pursuing.

One way of comparing the number of jobs created by different energy sources is to calculate the number of jobs for each Terawatt hour (TWh–1 billion kilowatt hours) generated annually. This, of course, will depend on the performance of the generating station. So a new 1.6GW reactor employing 500 people which operates an average of 80% of the time will be providing 45 jobs per TWh. Goldemberg has estimated the number of jobs created per TWh of power generated and found that nuclear produces around 75 jobs per terawatt hour (TWh), whereas wind power produces 918 – 2,400 per TWh. Solar photovoltaics provides 29,580 – 107,000 jobs/TWh. (1)


June 7, 2017 - Posted by | employment, renewable, UK

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