Driving Economic Growth & Keeping the Air Clean

The Role of Nuclear Power in the Great Lakes Region

This report takes an in-depth look at nuclear energy in the eight states and two provinces that make up the region. The report is a collaborative effort between Bruce Power, the Council of the Great Lakes Region and the Provincial Building & Construction Trades Council of Ontario.

Executive Summary

The Great Lakes Region, which includes eight U.S. states and two Canadian provinces, is the economic engine of North America, accounting for over 30 per cent of both economic and employment activity between the two countries.

If it were a country it would be the third largest economy in the world, behind only the U.S. and China. Despite its economic might, it hasn’t been without its challenges since the global downturn of 2008 and ’09. Additionally, there is a collective understanding in this region, reflected in both national and subnational government policies, of the importance of reducing greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

Given the interconnectedness of the region’s economy, it’s important to consider all factors when seeking to grow the economy through jobs and investment. The environmental impact of economic growth is a challenge for all jurisdictions, and one people, businesses and governments of the Great Lakes Region look to balance.

While a wide range of policy factors will be needed to achieve these goals, one positive contributor to the region’s economy and keeping the air clean is nuclear energy. Nuclear power generates nearly 30 per cent of the electricity for the entire region and about 50 per cent of the emissions-free electricity generated in the Great Lakes Region, making it an essential source of reliable, affordable and clean electricity for families and businesses.

This emissions-free electricity annually avoids 250 million metric tonnes of CO2 in the air, which is the equivalent of removing over 52 million passenger cars from the road.

While playing this important role in keeping the air clean, the nuclear industry is also a major source of jobs and economic activity. The 55 nuclear units operating across the Great Lakes Region employ 80,000 people through direct and indirect employment. The nuclear industry also combines to inject $10 to $12 billion a year into the economy through direct and indirect spending in operational equipment, supplies, materials and labour income. Over 90 per cent of this spending is done within each facility’s own region, creating a positive impact on local and state/provincial economies.

Nuclear power is a reliable source of affordable, clean electricity for families and businesses across the Great Lakes Region. It powers the economy through jobs and investment and keeps the air we breathe clean.

Moving forward, nuclear energy will play an important role in the Great Lakes Region’s modern, balanced electricity system, while governments continue to focus on policies that will grow their economies and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Watch former United States Senator and Indiana Governor Evan Bayh’s speech about why nuclear power matters in the Great Lakes region.

Release Date

September 17, 2015


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