Ironworkers union gets grant to train Plant Vogtle specialists

An Augusta-area ironworkers union chapter received a $30,000 grant to purchase specialized welding equipment that will be used to train workers for tasks related to the addition of two new reactors at Plant Vogtle.

The grant from the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative was used to buy three pulse arc welding machines from Lincoln Electric Co. to train members of Local 709 for the specialized welding needed at the Vogtle site.

The type of welding, referred to as GMAW-P, is a special form of gas-shielded arc welding. The welders are also being trained to weld from remote locations.

“We have to use stainless duplex metal and wire for this type of welding. Both of these pieces are very expensive,” said Ed Abbott, the executive director for the Welding Certification program at the National Training Fund. “Between the expense of the materials and the special training, our local needed some help.”

The Vogtle project is expected to employ as many as 3,500 workers at its peak activity. Currently, about 1,750 workers are involved in site preparation and similar activities.

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