EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of occasional profiles of individuals working on the two new reactors at Plant Vogtle for Southern Nuclear, which are under construction and three years away from starting operations.
Thomson native Adam Wilcher left one nuclear plant to work at another, but only partly because it’s closer to home.
“I always thought if Southern Co. built a new generation plant, I would like to be involved,” he said.
Wilcher, a Georgia Tech grad, was also in engineering at Plant Hatch near Baxley. That experience whetted his appetite for being part of the construction of the nation’s first commercial reactor in three decades.
“Some of the guys I had worked with at Hatch had been there 35 years, since Hatch started. They knew all the ins and outs of everything, how the systems worked. Seems like they had a good knowledge of the plant,” he said. “So my thought was: ‘You get in on the ground floor, kind of learn as the plant’s being built. It will be helpful in the future.’”
He’s getting his wish. As a construction engineering supervisor for Plant Vogtle’s Units 3 and 4, he’s getting a close-up look, starting with 6:15 a.m. briefings every day.
He was barely more than a toddler when Plant Vogtle began operation of Units 1 and 2. Though he lived relatively close, he knew little about it and generally associated the “power company” with linemen rather than generation plants.
“Still, you hear people say growing up, ‘That guy works for the power company. Those are good jobs.’ A lot of people thought highly of the power company,” he said.
What he found was the best part is the people and the opportunity to work on diverse projects because of the company’s vast size. Being able to work on the cutting edge of technology also makes the job rewarding, Wilcher said.
“Adam’s dedication to new-nuclear construction is evident in his daily determination to ensure safe, quality, compliant construction in his current role as construction-compliance supervisor of the unit 3 and 4 nuclear islands,” said his boss, Vanderian K. Floyd, a construction compliance manager.
Although his Waynesboro neighbors know a lot about what goes on at Plant Vogtle, they don’t know the full extent of it. That gives Wilcher a sense of responsibility for them, Floyd said.
“He is proud of the fact that his position focuses on keeping his family and his neighbors safe by ensuring that construction is completed in compliance and safety,” he said.
They know about the jobs, the taxes generated and the increased economic activity as a result of the construction, Wilcher said. That’s why they have a positive view of Plant Vogtle.
He’s thrilled to be part of a project where “everything we do is the first of its kind.”
“It’s pretty rewarding to be able to see the progress daily in buildings, elevations going up. That’s a little bit different from other jobs where it doesn’t seem like much changes from day to day,” he said.