One of America’s largest construction projects – the addition of two nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle – is expected to get even larger this year.
Plant Vogtle co-owner Georgia Power said in a project update this week that total employment at the unit 3 and 4 construction site near Waynesboro has surpassed 6,000 workers.
A Georgia Power spokesman said Tuesday the workforce will get even larger as contractors push ahead to complete the reactors by June 2019 and June 2020.
“We are at a very busy time at the Vogtle site, and we expect that number to continue to grow throughout this year,” spokesman Jacob Hawkins said. “There are more workers being hired every week.”
He said most of the people being hired are skilled tradespeople, such as welders, carpenters, pipe fitters and electricians.
Employment had fluctuated around 5,000 prior to this spring, Hawkins said.
Last month officials with Southern Co. – parent company of Georgia Power and Southern Nuclear Operating Co., the plant’s operator – told the Georgia Public Service Commission that work at the site would be accelerating but remain on budget.
Though more than one-third complete, the new Vogtle units are three years behind schedule and more than $1 billion over budget. The Vogtle construction, along with two new reactors being built at SCANA Corp.’s V.C. Summer plant in South Carolina, are the country’s first new nuclear reactors in 30 years.
Recent milestones at the 3,100-acre site include completion of the vertical construction portion of the 601-foot-tall unit 4 cooling tower, placement of a 417-ton stator assembly, completion of the “Big 6” reactor modules and delivery of the reactor coolant pumps, which weight 187 tons each.
Completion of the two Westinghouse AP1000 pressurized water reactors are expected to create 800 permanent jobs and turn the four-unit Vogtle complex into the nation’s largest nuclear power facility.