As much of the country’s nuclear energy work force nears retirement age, power utilities like Southern Company are trying to head off the looming labor shortage. Southern is partnering with Augusta Technical College on a two-year degree program that will prepare students for entry-level jobs.
Charlie Nesbitt is the training deployment manager for the new reactors at Plant Vogtle. He says that up to now the nuclear industry has relied on engineers and people with Navy nuclear experience to fill positions.
"This gives a high school graduate that wants to come to work at a nuclear power plant, either ours or anybodies, the basic education that he or she would need to be successful," said Nesbitt.
If Southern Company gets approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission officials say the new reactors should be operational by 2017, creating more than 800 new jobs.