The Daily Sentinel, Jackson County, Alabama’s oldest newspaper, has published an Our Voice editorial board column titled Area’s future brighter with TVA Bellefonte. The piece describes in detail the potential benefits that will come to their community as a result of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s announcement last week that the company will almost certainly either complete the two existing, partially constructed reactors or build two new Westinghouse AP1000 power plants on the Bellefonte site near Scottsboro, AL. (See, for example TVA: Bellefonte a go (April 23, 2010))
The editorial piece cheered the news by describing the long term safety record accumulated in US nuclear energy plants, the cleanliness of the technology in comparison to coal, and the economic development related benefits of a major construction project that will bring engineers, technicians and construction workers to the site for about five years. It is also enthusiastic about the fact that the completed facility will leave a long term need for 400-500 operations and security workers, some of whom will become lifelong members of the community.
When completed the plant will employ between 400-500 workers to operate and support the facility. Some of those employees will hail from Jackson County. Others will move in and establish roots in our communities.
Spin off jobs will be created to support and supply the plant. Retail trade, and thus the number of shopping and dining options, will grow and flourish.
It is likely TVA’s decision could have a positive impact on other industries looking to locate in the region. With reliable available power, a highly trained workforce and mega-industries located nearby it makes sense for companies to seek areas prepared for growth. With prepared industrial sites Jackson County is well positioned to capitalize in the future. TVA’s presence only solidifies the area’s potential.
If you like to fight against nuclear energy development, I suggest that you pick a place where you will find more support for your battle that you will find in Jackson County. My guess is that the local population is ready, willing and able to welcome a nuclear facility into their own backyard and are willing to put up with a little disruption and traffic in order to take advantage of all of the benefits described by the Our Voice column.