New Jersey’s two nuclear plants — Salem and Hope Creek — provide too many benefits to our state’s residents and businesses to stand idly by and allow them to close permanently. This is why the New Jersey state Legislature has recently held a public hearing and is crafting legislation to address the issue.
A new report pegs the economic value of these plants at more than $800 million per year. That includes energy production, purchase of goods and services, payroll for 1,600 direct employees, and millions of dollars in annual tax revenues. That economic activity has a ripple effect throughout the economy — supporting nearly 6,000 jobs overall. The plants are the economic anchors of Salem County and the surrounding region.
Aside from the economic benefits, the plants are a critical part of the state’s energy infrastructure — providing almost half of all the electricity generated in the state. Nuclear energy is produced 24/7, night or day, rain or shine, and nuclear plants do their job without producing air pollution or greenhouse gases.
Nuclear energy also contributes to the fuel diversity that keeps New Jersey’s energy supply reliable. With nuclear, the state gets its electricity from a variety of fuels that also include natural gas and renewables.
Two new studies have found that closing the Salem and Hope Creek nuclear plants would lead to higher electricity prices for New Jersey customers — $400 million per year more than what they already are paying for energy.
Nuclear plants are critical pieces of our reliable, resilient energy infrastructure. As a state, we all value the safe, clean, reliable, and affordable energy our nuclear plants provide. But unless state policies do the same, our nuclear plants may disappear. Lawmakers in New York, Connecticut, and Illinois already have enacted policies to support their struggling nuclear plants. It is time to follow suit.
For jobs, for clean air, and for lower energy bills, New Jersey should ensure that its nuclear plants are able to continue to generate reliable, carbon-free electricity long into the future. The time for action is now.
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