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Labor hails Washington’s investment in nuclear future

Building Trades, Climate Jobs Washington applaud state’s historic investment in an advanced modular reactor


The following is from the CWBCTC:

PASCO, Wash. (April 1, 2024) — The Central Washington Building & Construction Trades Council (CWBCTC), representing over 20,000 members, along with UA Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 598, which boasts more than 1,400 members, are celebrating a significant milestone in Washington state’s commitment to clean and sustainable energy. The Governor of Washington, alongside state legislators, has made a unanimous decision to allocate $25 million to Energy Northwest for the development of an advanced modular reactor (AMR). This investment signifies a monumental stride towards Washington’s clean energy ambitions and demonstrates the profound commitment of state leaders to fostering energy innovation.

“This is a monumental step forward for the State of Washington and a clear demonstration of our collective commitment to advancing nuclear technology as a crucial element of our state’s clean energy plans and future goals,” said Nickolas Bumpaous, President of CWBCTC and Business Manager of UA Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 598. “We are immensely grateful to the governor and all the elected officials for their unanimous support and investment.”

He added:

“The $25 million allocation to Energy Northwest’s AMR project is not just an investment in clean energy: it’s an investment in our community, our workers, and our future. This project will not only lead to the creation of high-quality jobs but will also play a crucial role in transitioning our energy infrastructure towards more sustainable, reliable sources. These reliable clean resources are what’s needed here in Eastern Washington as we continue to see more clean energy reliant jobs like data centers and battery facilities breaking ground. This clean energy will support the growth for the future work in these facilities, the Hydrogen Hubs, and much more, right here in our state.”

Sean McGarvey, President of North America’s Building Trades Unions (NABTU) weighed in on Washington state’s historic investment saying, “The support shown for the nuclear industry by the Governor and Legislature of Washington state is not only a tremendous vote of confidence in the future of the clean baseload power supplied by nuclear energy, but in the strength of our highly skilled Union workforce that is ready, willing, and eager to construct advance modular reactors across this great state.”

Mark Riker, Executive Secretary, Washington State Building and Construction Trades Council, said, “I commend Governor Inslee, the Legislature, labor and business leaders for their support of and realization that non-emitting advanced nuclear technologies are a vital component of our overall energy portfolio as we transition towards a clean energy economy.”

Riker pointed out how uniquely prepared Washington’s workforce is for these projects.

“Washington state is well positioned to support this transition with our excellent veteran nuclear workforce, businesses, and academic infrastructure already in place to ensure that the necessary transition is accomplished safely in the most productive way possible,” he said.

Washington State Labor Council and Climate Jobs Washington (CJWA) President April Sims was thrilled to see the extensive clean energy investments made by the Legislature this year:

“CJWA is proud to be at the forefront of our state’s clean energy transition. By supporting the responsible development of clean energy technologies, we are showing once again that, in the transition to a clean energy economy, we don’t have to choose between workers and the environment — we can prioritize both. Deploying clean energy technologies is driving the creation of family wage jobs, reducing emissions, and making our communities healthier. We know these types of investments are possible because of Washington’s unparalleled leadership on climate action, including the Climate Commitment Act, which is helping us ensure that our communities are built around living wages, equity, public health, and local opportunity.”

Seth Worley, UA Local 598 Government Affairs Director, commended the strategic vision of Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington’s legislators for their support: “This investment not only advances Washington’s commitment to clean and sustainable energy, as outlined by the ambitious Clean Energy Transformation Act (CETA), but also underscores the critical role of nuclear energy in achieving the state’s goal of a 100% clean electricity supply by 2045.”

He added:

“While it truly ‘took a village’ to achieve this milestone, the unwavering commitment and leadership of Senator Mullet and Representative Stearns were instrumental in crossing the finish line. Their dedication and tireless efforts have been nothing short of pivotal in making this a reality. We owe them a debt of gratitude for championing these initiatives that will shape the future of our state.”

Bumpaous extended his appreciation on behalf of the Central Washington BCTC and its members to Washington state’s elected officials for their visionary leadership:

“On behalf of CWBCTC, with more than 20,000 members, and UA Local 598’s more than 1,400 members, I extend our heartfelt thanks to every elected official who supported this crucial investment. Your leadership is paving the way for innovation in our state’s energy sector. We are thrilled to lead in this journey, committed to the successful implementation of this project.”

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