Georgia Power currently spends $50 million per month on the project. In March 2017, Vogtle’s lead contractor, Westinghouse Electric, filed for bankruptcy. The project was already three years behind schedule and more than $3 billion over budget. Georgia Power’s Paul Bowers argues the project presents “long-term benefits to customers.” Critics have fought against Vogtle's expansion for years, citing cost and safety concerns. Cost and schedule estimates presented by Georgia Power may determine the project's fate. Plant Vogtle is one of Georgia's two nuclear power plants.

Georgia Power introduces incentives to aid hiring efforts at Vogtle

Georgia Power is still holding job fairs to recruit skilled workers to help in the construction of the nation’s only new nuclear plant.

The utility reported earlier that Bechtel corp., the company hired to oversee construction at Plant Vogtle, was having difficulty recruiting skilled craftsmen.

In a report presented to the Public Service Commission, “attracting and retaining the necessary labor force” was noted as the only challenge to completion targets for the project.

Company officials told Public Service Commissioners at the most recent Vogtle construction hearings that they were looking to fill in 800-1,000 skilled electricians, pipe fitters and other craft labor positions in the next six to eight months.

“We are actively working to attract and retain the best people for the project in coordination with multiple labor unions, including conducting job fairs in Georgia and South Carolina, ” said company spokesperson Jacob Hawkins.

Atlanta-based Georgia Power, a unit of Southern Company, launches an initiative to supply 177 megawatts of solar energy to commercial and industrial customers in the state. MATT KEMPNER / AJC
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The company has so far conducted two job fairs — one in Augusta, where 100 hires were made out of a pool of 1,000 applicants, and most recently in South Carolina. The hires in South Carolina include 14 nuclear operators who previously worked at the V.C. Summer plant.

Another job fair is expected to be held in Florida next month. The company is also considering seeking additional talent for the plant from Canada.

Low pay and a lack of incentives were previously cited as reasons for the difficulty recruiting talent.

According to Hawkins, the company has introduced multiple incentives, including per diem and other earned bonuses, to aid in recruitment efforts.

The company maintained that, despite the challenges, the project is on track to meet completion targets.

“Productivity and progress continue at the site and the target in-service dates remain November 2021 and November 2022,” he added.

Construction at the two units, now in its 10th year, has been rife with controversies amid delays and cost overruns running into billions.

Georgia Power has 45 percent ownership of Vogtle 3 and 4, while Oglethorpe Power owns 30 percent; Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia (MEAG), 22.7 percent; and Dalton Utilities, 1.6 percent.

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