Two Nuclear Units, Jobs Coming to Fairfield County

8:31 PM, Apr 9, 2012   |    comments
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Jenkinsville, SC (WLTX) -- Jobs, business and growth will be headed to Fairfield County with the approval of two new nuclear power units.

Santee Cooper and SCE&G gave tours of the construction Monday to celebrate receiving approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build and operate the units.

If you never understand what the machines do, or what the equipment is for SCE&G's Chief Nuclear Officer Jeff Archie says there's something about it you will get.

"In layman's terms, that's what it means also, it means jobs," said Archie.

Already in pre-construction mode, the project will require 3,000 full time construction jobs, and about 1,375 of those are already filled.

On March 30, the companies received federal approval to build and operate two new nuclear units in Fairfield County, they already operate one at the location.

"It hadn't happened in our industry in over 30 years, so not only is it a big deal for state, it's a big deal for our employees and our company, and also a big deal for our industry," said Archie.

Fairfield County Council Chairman David Ferguson hopes the project will increase investments in Fairfield County and lure other companies to the area.

"You look at the investment that these guys have out here and are putting out here, it's gonna be a stamp of approval to folks who are looking to see if you are a viable candidate for them to come to your county," said Ferguson.

Dr. Sonny White, the President of Midlands Technical College, says his school began preparing students to work at sites like this across the state two years ago.  He says they have about 100 students in the two year program.

"That's a real opportunity for our students in our area for jobs like this in a very clean safe environment," said White.

After it is finished the site will run with 600 to 800 new permanent employees.

The first new unit will be completed in 2017, with the second finishing up the following year.

But everyone's not happy with the construction going on.   Tom Clements with the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability is worried about the cost.

"I think they are going to run into a lot of problems both from a financial standpoint and scheduling along the way and building this expensive project and I am fully anticipating the cost projection they have given to the Public Service Commission is not going to be accurate and the reactors will end up costing far more than they presented to the public"

Clements says the money would have been better spent on conservation efficiency.

SCE&G says its portion of the project will cost $138 million.

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