The U. S. arm of Areva has announced a plan to invest $25 million for additional space at its Lynchburg, VA engineering/nuclear services site. The additional space will be needed as the company hires the 500 new employees that it intends to add during the next 3 years. These new employees will be assisting in the effort required to license the firm’s newest reactor design in the US.
According to WSLS 10 web article titled 500 New jobs for Lynchburg most of the new jobs will be engineering positions paying between $60,000 and $100,000 per year. The company calculates that it will be investing 5 million engineering hours into the detailed design for the Evolutionary Power Reactor (U. S. EPR), a design that is based on the European Pressurized Water Reactor (EPR) that is currently under construction in both Finland and France.
Some might wonder why there is so much effort required to produce the detailed designs for reactors that are already being built. In fact, I put myself into that category of wonderers. If anyone can help me understand why such an enormous investment – probably nearing a quarter of a billion dollars – is required, please chime in.