Two New Nuclear Reactors and a Million Green Buildings to Be Built The three-decade dry spell in nuclear-plant construction in the U.S. is coming to an end with the approval to put up not one but two nuclear reactors at a cost of $14 billion and against a stiff headwind caused by the Fukushima incident. An alliance of utilities is poised to launch the project, joining a number of other projects that will put through their paces new technologies that can help the industry steer clear of the disastrous economic and safety missteps of the past. For much of the industry, that means a stronger demand for new constructionâ€”good news for contractors, especially those who have already finished their continuing education contractor (or contractor CE). The widespread radioactive contamination in Fukushima notwithstanding, proponents of the project claim that a new generation of nuclear reactors and updated, more robust U.S. regulations justify the construction of the two nuclear plants and splicing them into the present grid of mixed power technologies to address the countryâ€™s energy requirements. The project contractor, Southern Co., operates four electric utilities in the South. "It is something we believe is a national imperative," stated Southern chief executive Thomas Fanning. "It is a big day in America." Southern Co. has contracted Westinghouse Electric Co. to develop the 1,100-megawatt reactors. Westinghouse, for its part, said they expect another license approval for their reactors in the very near future, pointing out that about 20 are in various stages of planning, 14 of them will use new advanced design. The company noted that most of the work will be U.S.-based and will involve an estimated 35,000 workers. The boost in employment opportunities from the construction of the two nuclear reactors is seemingly being matched by a surge in demand for green buildings. Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED)-certified buildings have caught the trade winds as far as momentum this year is concerned as stalwarts of the U.S. Green Building Council LEED program race to have a million commercial buildings LEED certified by 2020. Despite the quick acceptance of green buildings by the commercial sector, however, the LEED program might be in for a bit of rough sailing ahead. The potential show-stopper is a study which found that the injury rate in LEED-certified projects is almost 50 percent higher than that of traditional construction. The safety of construction workers on the job seems to be on the line. A team led by Matthew Hallowell, an assistant professor in architectural engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, is trying to find out why. So far, his team has identified 14 LEED credentials that might elevate risks to construction workers. These include a perceived 32-percent risk increase of falls when installing skylights and atriums to meet the daylight and views credit, a perceived 36-percent risk of lacerations and abrasions from construction waste IndustrialInstitute.com powered by 360training.com, Inc.
management, a perceived 37-percent risk increase in installing PV (photovoltaic) panels for on-site renewable energy, and a perceived 41-percent higher risk involved in installing sustainable roofing. “I was very surprised when I read the conclusions,” says Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED Technical Development at USGBC. “LEED buildings are substantively different than non-LEED buildings and while there are risks in all construction, we did not expect green-building construction would have higher incidence of accidents. I don’t know that a lot of people would have held an opinion that was different than mine prior to this report.” Still and all, no one doubts that green construction is here to stay, shaping the way buildings are constructed and the way careers are made in the building business.
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Published on Mar 2, 2012
The three-decade dry spell in nuclear-plant construction in the U.S. is coming to an end with the approval to put up not one but two nuclear...