Workforce numbers continue to rise at Plant Vogtle’s construction site as new nuclear reactors and cooling towers take shape.
About 4,200 workers are employed at the Vogtle expansion project, where the first two reactors built in the U.S. in more than three decades are rising from the red clay. In the next 12 to 18 months, the workforce is expected to peak at 5,000, Georgia Power spokesman Brian Green said.
In addition to new construction and craft labor hires, Vogtle has begun hiring licensed and non-licensed nuclear operators and maintenance and engineering personnel who will run the facility when the new units begin producing power, Green said. Units 3 and 4 are expected to go online in the fourth quarters of 2017 and 2018.
About 30 miles south of Augusta in Waynesboro, Ga., the Unit 3 cooling tower has reached 300 feet tall. The Unit 4 tower is more than 50 feet tall.
In May, the 1.8 million-pound containment vessel bottom head for Unit 4 was lifted into place.
“There has been a lot of stuff below ground, but we’re really seeing things take shape on the Unit 4 nuclear island,” Green said.
A report filed in June with Georgia’s Public Service Commission showed that construction glitches in Unit 3 have not been repeated in Unit 4.
After a factory owned by contractor CB&I in Lake Charles, La., struggled to deliver large structural modules to the site on time, Georgia Power contracted with a new supplier in Oregon.
“It has helped us increase our oversight and move some of these projects forward,” Green said.
The Lake Charles facility will still provide smaller mechanical modules for Vogtle. A Newport News, Va., plant is making a protective shell that will surround the reactors.