Friday, November 17, 2006

more on neutron-burgh

Mark my words. The biggest economic story in Pittbsurgh over the next few years could be the expansion of Westinghouse/BNFL/Toshiba and related nuclear power work here. There is some important news on this. The senate approved a bill that would allow US firms to work in the India nuclear power industry.

You may have seen some of the news that talks about the potential of 2,000 new hires at Westinghouse. There is an awful lot going on in the industry. The NRC has a number of domestic nuclear power plants on their board for the first time in decades, China is bidding out who will build a generation worth of plants, Russia is talking about 25 new plants in the coming decade and Toshiba/Westinghouse has been looking at that business as well.. and now India. I hear that 2,000 number is pretty much their low end need for workers if they actually don't get some of these impending contracts. If they do get some of the bigger contracts out there I heard one person say recently it would be more like 1,000 new workers per month. That rate of job creation is probably not possible if for no other reason that the industry does not have that many ready workers out there.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are the odds of Westinghouse leaving the Pittsburgh area in order to expand operations?

Monday, November 20, 2006 5:20:00 PM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I really do not know. From a purely workforce point of view I am split for a strange reason. The fact that we have a high concentration, possibly the highest in the US, of nuclear engineers would be a big selling point for the region. I am a little concerned that the people at Westinghouse may be looking at such a big increase in hiring that they pretty much have to start from scratch no matter what they do. If so they may not be swayed as much by the workforce differences across regions.

It reminds me a bit of the Siemens fuel cell plant which was going to be opened in Munhall. In the end they chose not to go ahead with the project but had made signficant investment in the site at the waterfront which is now being used by US Steel R+D. but after they made the decision to locate here I took the opportunity to ask the manager of the project why they chose Pittsburgh. For them, they had far better offers on tax incentives from Dallas where Ross Perot himself was keen on bringing the industry there. Yet they stayed here because their talent was here and their analysis showed they would not get enough of their skilled engineers to move to Texas. If that logic matters in this case, Pittsburgh wins no matter. However, the scale of the workforce issues in the two cases probably differs by an order of magnitude.

Monday, November 20, 2006 9:13:00 PM  

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