New Study Reveals Remarkable Economic Impact of Nuclear Industry in Southeast United States

February 20, 2024

New Study Reveals Remarkable Economic Impact of Nuclear Industry in Southeast United States

February 20, 2024

New Study Reveals Remarkable Economic Impact of Nuclear Industry in Southeast United States

Total annual economic impact of nuclear industry in five-state region estimated to be $43 billion, supporting 153,000 jobs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – A groundbreaking study, The Economic Impact of the Nuclear Industry in the Southeast United States, released by the Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council and conducted by E4 Carolinas, reveals the Southeastern United States as a pivotal region in the global nuclear industry. The study presents a comprehensive analysis of the economic impacts of the nuclear energy sector in the five-state region consisting of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA Award 04-69-07656), the study represents a collaboration between industry leaders, educational institutions, and energy nonprofits. It serves as a baseline for understanding the benefits of nuclear power and its integral role in regional economic growth and the global clean energy transition.

“Nuclear energy is experiencing a much-welcomed revival as many states and communities across the nation reevaluate their energy landscapes to address growing energy demand and emission reductions targets,” said Dr. Kathryn Huff, Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy, U.S. Department of Energy. “New nuclear energy projects could bring considerable benefits to host communities in the form of jobs, tax incentives, and air quality, improving overall quality of life.”

“Nuclear energy can play a crucial role in our nation’s transition to clean energy, offering reliable, 24/7 electricity with zero carbon emissions,” said Craig Stover, Senior Program Manager – Advanced Nuclear Technology, EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute). “The Southeastern U.S. has unique opportunities due to its extensive existing nuclear assets, numerous research institutions and national laboratories, and the region's commitment to innovative new nuclear technologies, which will help power the U.S.’ goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

Key Findings of the Study:

● The nuclear energy industry in the Southeast, encompassing Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia, generates an impressive annual economic impact of $42.9 billion, supporting 152,598 jobs and generating $13.7 billion in labor income.● The nuclear sector significantly contributes to state and local economies, with $3.7 billion in annual tax revenues across the five-state region.

● The average employment multiplier effect across the five-state region is 2.8, meaning for every ten jobs directly created by the nuclear industry, an additional 18 jobs are generated elsewhere. The nuclear industry’s employment multiplier effect is significantly higher than the average industry in these states.

● The average wage in the nuclear industry outpaces regional averages by 65.5%, with an average wage of $89,972 across the five-state region, underscoring the sector's role in providing high-quality employment opportunities.

● The study highlights nuclear power plants' preference for sourcing a significant portion of their raw materials from local vendors. This practice amplifies the economic impact of nuclear power plants, surpassing similar-sized firms in other sectors through enhanced local spending activity.

“This report demonstrates two clear findings: the existing civilian nuclear industry provides a massive economic impact for the southeast region, and by supplying $3.7 billion in tax revenues, is a critical element in overall state and local finances,” said Jeff Merrifield, Co-Chair, Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council; Chair, E4 Carolinas; and Partner, Pillsbury Law. “Additionally, with the largest nuclear workforce in the U.S., the southeastern United States, represented by the five states in the report, will be a vital supplier of jobs and technologies to enable the next generation of advanced nuclear energy technologies.”

“The economic benefits reported here are only part of the picture, as nuclear energy also provides a pathway to meeting the anticipated increased demand for power and reduced carbon emissions, while maintaining the low-cost energy and reliability goals important to our region,” added Jim Little, Co-Chair, Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council and Industry Representative, South Carolina Governor’s Nuclear Advisory Council. “The southeastern U.S. is at the forefront of nuclear technology development, particularly in Generation IV nuclear technologies and Small Modular Reactors (SMRs), heralding a new era of safety and cost-efficiency.”

The study also reveals that nuclear power is a major component of the clean energy landscape in the U.S., especially in the Southeast, where it constitutes 37% of utility-scale net electricity generation in the region, compared to the national average of 19%. The region hosts 25 of the nation’s 93 operational nuclear reactors and has a comprehensive network of companies, research universities, and national labs supporting the industry, including community colleges and educational programs that contribute to a skilled workforce for the nuclear industry.

“Intuitively, we always knew there was a large benefit to our local and regional economies attributable to nuclear power,” added Ken Canavan, President of E4 Carolinas. “Thanks to this study, we can unequivocally state that the economic benefits are tremendous and include substantial jobs and tax base, and an annual economic impact of $43 billion for the five-state region."

“The nuclear energy industry not only sustains direct jobs but also stimulates additional indirect employment across the region,” said Shawn Hall, Program Director, Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, E4 Carolinas. “The well-paying jobs in the nuclear industry, in both construction and operations, are anticipated to increase as more plants are constructed and made operational in the region, providing a unique opportunity for our future workforce, including students at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The E4 Carolina’s HBCU Pathways Program provides a link between nuclear companies and historically disadvantaged populations, placing student internship cohorts at energy companies across the region.”

As part of its recommendations and conclusions, the study underscores the need for states to establish economic development plans centered around nuclear power, emphasizing that the southeastern U.S. is uniquely positioned to capitalize on emerging technologies and opportunities in the nuclear sector. The study also encourages a broader perspective on achieving clean energy goals, suggesting greater consideration of nuclear energy and advocating for its inclusion in clean energy standards and policy discussions.

To download the full report, click here. To download the regional and statewide factsheets, clear here.

Media Contact

Elena Brennan+1 (865) 329-0553

About Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council The Southeast Nuclear Advisory Council (SENAC) is an advisory council created to support the advanced nuclear technology research and planning grant received by E4 Carolinas in 2021 from the U.S. Economic Development Administration covering five states in the Southeast U.S. (Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee & Virginia). SENAC's greater charge is to bring together industry, academia, and government to connect, promote, educate, and inform the development and deployment of advanced nuclear reactor technology in the region. We are 'The Voice of Nuclear in the Southeast.' More information about SENAC can be found at

About E4 Carolinas

E4 Carolinas is the trade association for Carolina energy companies and organizations. Our mission is to cultivate a collaborative Carolina energy economy to accelerate economic growth, use resources efficiently, and care for our environment resulting in increased employment, productivity, and prosperity for our region and members. E4 Carolinas’ membership is representative of the 1,000+ Carolina energy companies and organizations in North Carolina, South Carolina, and the Southeast region. More information about E4 Carolinas can be found at