The Carolinas benefit economically from nuclear industry

Nuclear power not only plays an important part in North and South Carolina's energy mix, it  also provides a substantial economic impact to the Carolinas.

According to a recent study, commissioned by the Carolinas' Nuclear Cluster, an industry coalition, the total economic impact of nuclear power in the Carolinas is $20 billion.

Each year, the average nuclear plant generates approximately $470 million in economic output or value. These figures include both direct output and secondary effects. The direct output reflects the plant’s annual electricity sales—approximately $453 million. The secondary effects at the local level ­—approximately $17 million— include subsequent spending attributable to the presence of the plant and its employees as plant expenditures filter through the local economy. There are also secondary effects outside the local area, at the state and national level. For a nominal 1,000-megawatt nuclear plant, these secondary effects are $80 million and $393 million, respectively.

The study shows that in the Carolinas, the nuclear industry directly provides 29,000 jobs. The industry has more than $2.2 billion in direct payroll, and more than $950 million paid in state and local taxes. As an example, McGuire Nuclear Station paid $7.1 million in property taxes in 2012/2013.

The cascading effect of dollars created by the nuclear industry and used in communities 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.

In addition to the permanent work force at the Carolina nuclear plants, the plants hire an additional 200 – 600 temporary workers to support refueling efforts, which directly impacts the local community. Businesses such as hotels and motels, restaurants and grocery stores are just a few of the beneficiaries. 

“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," said Dr. Scott Mason, lead researcher at Clemson University, in a press release.

Analysis shows that every dollar spent by the average nuclear plant results in the creation of $1.04 in the local community, $1.18 in the state economy and $1.87 in the U.S. economy. The average nuclear plant pays about $16 million in state and local taxes annually. These tax dollars benefit schools, roads, and other state and local infrastructure. The average nuclear plant also pays federal taxes of $67 million annually.

“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,” said Duke Energy Nuclear President, Dhiaa Jamil.

The official report from Clemson can be accessed at

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