Four Reactors to China Brings 2,000 Skilled Jobs to Western Pennsylvania
June 2, 2007 (LPAC)--A preliminary order for just four of what may be hundreds of nuclear plants to be built in China, is immediately bringing 2,000 highly skilled jobs to the Pittsburgh area, according to a Pennsylvania official of the National Machine Tool Association (NMTA). "A world nuclear renaissance is the one chance to revive the machine-tool industry in this country," he said.
China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said on May 27 that the country has plans to increase its nuclear power capacity 20-fold, to over 150 Gigawatts. China has ordered four ABWRs (advanced boiling-water reactors) from Toshiba Corp., the owner of Pittsburgh-based Westinghouse Nuclear Corporation, which will hire 2,000 new employees including newly trained machinists.
The work on the reactor elements will involve and expand a score of small and medium-sized machine-tool companies in the Pennsylvania area, as contractors, even though the United States has lost completely the capacity to build some major elements of the reactors, including generators and pressure vessels.
The NMTA official told EIR that because of this huge loss of machine-tool production and capacities, he feared the United States industry would "see all this nuclear construction go away" to other nations. "But it's our one big chance."
The U.S. economy has lost major parts of its most important machine-tool industrial capacities, in allowing nearly half the aerospace industry's capacity to shut down after 1990, and in the collapse and drastic shrinkage of the domestic auto industry while Congress has not lifted a finger to intervene.
The largest potential nuclear-plant order currently in the United States, for the preliminary design of up to five 1,200MW reactors by the TXU electric utility in Texas, has gone to another Japanese company, Mitsubishi.