Quietly humming in the southeast corner of Nebraska is a vital economic and environmental asset supporting area businesses and residents.
It’s a nuclear power plant, making enough carbon-free electricity to serve nearly 400,000 people 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it generates more than power. It sends millions of economic value into local communities.
Cass, Johnson, Nemaha, Otoe and Richardson counties receive more than $66 million in economic output from Cooper Nuclear Station, owned and operated by the Nebraska Public Power District. Another $46 million in economic value reaches the rest of the state. That’s $112 million in yearly economic output.
The results come from a study conducted by the Nuclear Energy Institute (NEI) in Washington, D.C. NEI determined Cooper provides $63 million increase in gross state product and $70 million in disposable personal income. And there’s more to come.
Between 2018 and 2034, Cooper is expected to generate more than $1.9 billion in economic output for Nebraska, including $1.2 billion to those five counties and an additional $675 million throughout the rest of the state.
Oh, and did we mention it is carbon-free, representing the lion’s share of NPPD’s 60 percent carbon-free generation portfolio.
On top of that, Cooper’s 93 percent-plus capacity over the past five years is significantly higher than other forms of generation. Renewable resources won’t run if they don’t have fuel. Meanwhile one uranium fuel pellet—about the size of the tip of a pencil eraser—produces the same energy as 17,000 cubic feet of natural gas. Cooper supplies consistent, reliable power more than 400 days in a row.
Nuclear provides good jobs, too. Cooper’s annual payroll and benefits amount to $76 million for 680 permanent employees. Cooper employs many contractors, as well. According to NEI, Cooper stimulates more than 450 additional jobs in the area and Nebraska.
Cooper’s value is not lost on local residents. Last fall, more than 250 plant neighbors were surveyed, and 92 percent said they have a favorable impression of Cooper and its operations, and 94 percent were confidant in NPPD’s ability to operate a nuclear power plant safely.
Reliable, carbon-free power with positive neighborhood support and a strong, local workforce? Sounds like a good place to start a business. So, up and “atom.”
A copy of NEI study can be found at https://www.nei.org/Master-Document-Folder/Backgrounders/Reports-And-Studies/Economic-Impacts-of-the-Cooper-Nuclear-Station