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Monday, June 27, 2011 - 12:39pm

Plant Vogtle Area Shows Little Growth

When Plant Vogtle went online in 1987 Burke County was home to just over 20,000 people.

Dotted with scrub oaks and cow pastures, the 800 square mile county looks much the same today as it did then.

And so does the population. The county added a few more than 2,000 residents in more than 20 years, according to recent Census data.

Jerry Long with Burke County's Development Authority says one reason could be that most plant workers commute from other communities.

"A good many workers do come from this area but they do come from the surrounding areas like Augusta. They come from the surrounding that's just the way it is."

About 180 of Plant Vogtle's more than 800 workers are from Burke county.

The area's unemployment rate is nearly 11 percent, well above the state average.

Long says several large employers like Black and Decker have vanished over the years taking jobs with them.   

"They've been here 5,6 [or] 7 years and they've closed to go to China or things of that nature."

Georgia Power, the plant's owner, is trying to build two new nuclear reactors at Vogtle.

If approved the project would mean thousands of temporary construction jobs and about 800 more full time positions.

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