As America evolves, the energy sector is providing new opportunities to promote economic security, both domestically and abroad.
With the global market for nuclear energy trade expected to be worth between $500 to $750 billion dollars between now and 2024, it’s no wonder that the CASEnergy Coalition tapped former U.S .Trade Ambassador and one-time Mayor of Dallas, Texas Ron Kirk to Co-Chair the effort alongside former EPA Administrator, Christine Todd Whitman.
A collection of more than 3,400 members across the business, environmental, academic, consumer, minority, and labor communities, CASEnergy (Clean and Safe Energy) Coalition is a national grassroots coalition that promotes the economic and environmental benefits of nuclear energy as part of a clean energy portfolio.
Kirk, who is no stranger to innovative sustainability planning and job creation plans to “highlight the economic value of investing in nuclear energy” while in his new role. Today, 82% of Americans think nuclear energy will be important to meeting the country’s growing energy demands, and 69% favor its use over other forms of energy, according to a September 2013 survey by Bisconti Research Inc. and Quest Global Research. “We want energy that’s reliable and cheap,” he said in an exclusive interview with Politic365, “and of all the energy sources, from a consumptive standpoint…nuclear is one of the most reliable and co-efficient sources of power.
Highlighting what he likes about nuclear energy, Kirk says it “punches above its weight” because “it’s low cost, and it’s reliable.” Presently, nuclear energy is only 20% of our electric supply system, but contributes 64% of our clean air electricity.
Beyond its efficiency, nuclear energy is also safe. “This is the only energy industry in which a federal regulatory governing body is on-site 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” according to Kirk. “In spite of what people think, the American nuclear industry has invested more in making these facilities safe, reliable and efficient than any other industry.”
What’s more, the nuclear industry is a haven for high paying jobs.
People employed at nuclear facilities generate 36% more income than those not employed in that field. In the next 10 years, 50% of the nuclear personnel are expected to retire, so there is a tremendous jobs opportunity available in this sector.
“These are great jobs and every nuclear facility employs 400-700 people,” a stat the former mayor relishes, having created 45,000 jobs himself at his previous post. While nuclear facilities require scientists and engineers, there are also opportunities for administrative professionals, technicians, and security guards. “Because the facilities are 24/7, there are jobs available around the clock.”
Everyone doesn’t need to attend a four-year college or pursue a graduate degree to take advantage of the opportunities in the nuclear sector. Participating in community college programs can just as easily lead to well paying jobs.
Ambassador Kirk candidly revealed that “as much as Americans are anxious about the slow job growth in this country, one of the things that frustrates the President more than anything and is just almost heartbreaking, whether you talk to representatives of the nuclear industry, or chemical manufacturing, there are probably two million jobs in factories around America that are unfilled right now because we don’t have employees with the skills….the good news is that skills gap can be closed with a modest investment in your education.”
Bridging the gap between the need for talent in the nuclear industry and the need for jobs in the African American community is among the new co-chair’s top priorities. Given his successful tenure in his previous posts, we’re certain to see good things from the Honorable Ron Kirk as he helps lead CASEnergy and the country toward a more inclusive nuclear energy future.