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Monday, July 18, 2011

Center Still Hopeful Blue Jobs Will Develop

The United States will need significant additional electricity capacity to meet future demand.  There has been much debate about green jobs, including defining exactly what qualifies as such.  America needs wind, solar, hydro, natural gas, coal, and nuclear to meet our future electricity needs.  Unfortunately, America appears to be falling behind in building sufficient new capacity to support a reinvigorated economy.

The Center was out front in promoting a mix of energy sources to produce electricity.  However, to effectively and efficiently provide electricity in bulk baseload to miilions of households, nuclear power should be the primary source to achieve this goal.  We hoped that numerous blue jobs would be created with the so-called 'Nuclear Power Renaissance.'  Alas, the renaissance stalled even before the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in Japan.  Also, unfortunately, our support for nuclear power has not led to any job creation.  Not one additional job was even created at the Center due to promotion of blue power.  Considering that nuclear should still be a significant part of the electricity generation mix, we wonder if any new blue jobs will ever be created now. 

Why blue jobs?  Even though nuclear power in America has been green, we think that a unique designation is needed due to the unique technology.  A bright blue glow surrounds 'swimming pool' reactors.  The blue glow results from gamma rays knocking out electrons from whatever they hit, such as the hydrogen and oxygen in the water.  The light produced appears as a blue glow underwater. The radiation is called Cerenkov radiation, after the Russian scientist whose experiments led to its explanation.  Spent fuel pools also have the blue glow. Thus, the blue jobs designation, which sounds better than Cerenkov jobs. (Albert B. Reynold, "Bluebells and Nuclear Energy,")

The Center has pursued all kinds of blue jobs, from partial nuclear plant ownership to promotion of new technologies.  We formed the Nuclear Fuels Reprocessing Coalition in 2003 to promote recycling nuclear fuel (see logo upper right).  We believe that blue jobs cover the spectrum from electricians and pipe fitters to nuclear physicists to upper management.  These jobs cover the rank and file and ownership opportunities.  We hope this industry can rebound to create millions of new blue jobs.  It would be ideal if some of those jobs originated at the Center.

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