“Clean and Safe Energy” is an organization dedicated to bringing Americans the facts about nuclear energy.
Question: What is C.A.S.E.?
Christine Todd Whitman: CASEnergy stands for the Clean and Safe Energy. It’s a coalition of over 1,700 organizations and individuals who are trying to get the message out about the truth about nuclear energy.
I co-chair it with Dr. Patrick Moore who was one of the co-founders of Greenpeace. Our mission really is to give people the facts so they can make an informed decision.
As I said before, nuclear is 20% of our power today. It does not produce any of the regulated emissions that cause either greenhouse gases or health impacts such particulate matter that is a real problem with asthma and health and breathing. It’s something that we believe is important and the interesting thing is the closer you live to a nuclear reactor the more support you find for nuclear reactors. That’s where people have the information.
So, CASE is about getting that information out about the fact that we need to have more nuclear reactors if we’re going to have and continue to keep nuclear at 20% of our energy as it is today.
And that process is going to have to start now. And we need to understand the safety record, which is very good. We need to understand that we have solutions. There are on site solutions now for the storage of the waste, not optimum, but with recycling and reprocessing, the amount of waste that’s going to have to be stored anywhere can be vastly reduced.
There’s an opportunity for an enormous number of jobs through the construction of nuclear reactors, not just during construction but then for the operation and maintenance. And I also believe that we have a huge opportunity to bring more jobs in the manufacturing of the parts that go into a nuclear reactor, something that we haven’t seen for a long time.
Certain parts of nuclear reactors are only produced now in one or two facilities in Japan and maybe one other country. We can’t wait in line for those behind everybody else who wants to go nuclear. We need to do these ourselves.
As I said before, one of the important things about the nuclear industry is the opportunity it does give for well paying jobs. They’re probably, at construction, at the peak, it’s anywhere from 2,800 to 3,000 workers needed on site and hundreds who are needed there to maintain and operate once they are up and running. And they pay usually around 30% more than the average salary in the area in which the reactor is located, so these are good jobs. They’re highly skilled jobs. There’s a whole spectrum of skilled labor that’s going to be needed.
And today, when you see a non-employment rate of 6.1%, it is the highest in 5 years. By the rest of the world standard, it’s not that bad, but for us, here, we expect better and we’d like better.
And so, this is one way to start bringing more jobs and more opportunity back to this country.
If people are interested, they can find out more about the job opportunities from the job report by going to CASE website which is cleansafeenergy.org.
Recorded on: September 15, 2008