Friday, October 24, 2008

A Global Nuclear Renaissance

An article in the 24 October 2008 print edition of the Wall Street Journal (B2) reports that France's Areva SA and Northrop Grumman are forming a joint venture to build heavy equipment for the nuclear power industry, as well as an engineering center in Newport News, VA.

According to a joint press release on 23 October:

The 300,000 square-foot facility represents a significant investment of more than $360 million in the U.S. commercial nuclear and manufacturing industries and will bring more than 500 skilled hourly and salaried jobs to the Commonwealth of Virginia. AREVA Newport News will be the first full-scale manufacturing facility dedicated to supply heavy components, such as reactor vessels, steam generators and pressurizers to the U.S. nuclear energy industry.

What the casual reader should know is the that the Newport News facility is one of the world's largest shipyards, and only one capable of building a Nimitz-class nuclear aircraft carrier. In short, it is a gigantic heavy industry site with highly-skilled labor.

This story is relevant to this blog not only because it follows the path of several previous articles:
"A Nuclear Renaissance in Germany?", "Nuclear, French Style", "Nuclear, India Style", "Nuclear, America Style", and "Build Wind, Drop Nuclear - Germany Loses its Mind" but also because nuclear power is one of the "greenest" and most reliable source of energy on the planet. This joint venture is also a shot in the arm of US heavy manufacturing, as the predicted market for its products is $100 billion.

Nuclear power is good for the US and those nations who are responsible. Let's hear it for Areva and Northrop Grumman for expanding the opportunity for clean and reliable power to the rest of the world.

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