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Nuke industry to Trump: we're your base

Nuclear Energy Institute

The embattled nuclear power industry is circulating an analysis in Washington that makes a rather blunt political point: regions with nuclear plants are a "critical element" of the coalition that elected President Trump.

Their case: The Nuclear Energy Institute memo and maps overlays the location of nuclear power plants with county-level results in the 2016 elections.

  • Trump carried 45 of the 61 counties that have reactors in the general election, and won all but 13 of them in the GOP primaries, according to NEI.

Their warning: "Given the razor-thin popular vote margin in the states that delivered the Electoral College to President Trump, these are voters he can ill-afford to lose."

  • There are 22 reactors in six battleground states that flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, the group said.

Why it matters: The nuclear industry wants help from the federal government. It has been stuck in neutral for years, with very few new projects getting off the ground and a number of existing reactors facing potential closure. It has set a series of policy goals at several agencies, including the Energy Department, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

To be sure: The 100,000 people directly employed by the industry is not make-or-break for the economy in the big picture (the economy added 235,000 total jobs in February alone, for instance). But the memo argues that the industry is a vital economic driver in counties with nuclear plants through workers and their families, supporting other types of businesses, and providing a big chunk of the local tax base.