Plant Vogtle seeing new jobs and getting new money

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Friday, March 22, 2019
News 12 @ 6/NBC @ 7

WAYNESBORO, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Governor Brian Kemp, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Agriculture Secretary -- and former Georgia Governor -- Sonny Perdue, and Congressmen Rick Allen were all in Burke County on Friday to visit Plant Vogtle. It's the biggest construction project jobs-wise in the state and the only nuclear power plant actively being built in the nation.

More than 7000 people work at Vogtle now, and 1500 additional workers are expected to be on-site during peak construction. The growth and progress of the project is a game-changer for Waynesboro, Augusta, and beyond.

For years, the community has wondered when and if reactors 3 and 4 here at Plant Vogtle would ever be completed. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said he's going to make sure that happens and here's how.

In what seemed like centimeters at a time -- much like the project itself -- the top of unit 3 containment vessel at Plant Vogtle slowly lowered into place. It was a massive construction milestone for the project.

"To each of you that has struggled as we've gone through this process," said Sec. Perry. "to be here today to put that cap on."

Putting a cap on it literally -- and financially.

"We're gonna get this project done," said Perry.

That's thanks to $3.7 billion dollars in new federal loan guarantees. The Department of Energy announced in September 2017 it could happen. On Friday, it became final.

"The final action in our commitment to this vision is the financial close for the loan guarantee that we will support the continued construction of Vogtle units 3 and 4." said Perry.

Thats now $12 billion dollars in federal loans the DOE has granted Vogtle. The project received $8..3 billion between 2014 and 2015.

Officials are hoping units 3 and 4 will be complete in the next three years and that timeline means more jobs. The site is gaining more than 1500 workers while they work to finish 3 and 4, bringing it up from more than 7000 workers to about 9000. They've hired more than 700 new employees since November 2018.

"It's the jobs that are being created right here, and the families that I'm looking in the eye of," said Perry. "It's the men and women that are building America's energy future that I'm most proud of."

Unit 3 is about 75 percent complete to date and expected to be 90 percent complete by the end of the year. By 2020, they hope to start loading nuclear fuel into that unit and have it fully operational by 2021. Unit 4 is projected to be finished by 2022.

There is no cost cap on the project. Officials say when the Public Service Commission first approved this project they thought the price would go up by about 12 percent. With 3 and 4 finishing up, they say it's looking like a 10 percent cost increase or less.