New Build

Vogtle / Workforce Reduced By 20% As Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Toll

By David Dalton
17 April 2020

42 workers at new-build site in Georgia have been diagnosed with Covid-19
Workforce Reduced By 20% As Coronavirus Pandemic Takes Toll
The Vogtle nucler site in the US state of Georgia. Photo courtesy Georgia Power.
The workforce at the Vogtle nuclear power station in the US state of Georgia is being reduced by about 20%, or roughly 1,800 employees, to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. Georgia Power’s parent company, Southern Company said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

In its filing, the company said this action would cost about $15m to $30m, but it does not expect the reduction will “affect the total project capital cost forecast or the ability to achieve the regulatory-approved in-service dates of November 2021 and November 2022 for Plant Vogtle Units-3 and -4, respectively.”

Vogtle’s expansion began in 2009. The total cost of the project is projected to be more than $25 billion.

Forty-two workers at the site of the two new Westinghouse AP1000 reactors been diagnosed with the coronavirus. Fifty-seven tests are pending and 154 people working there have tested negative. In February, the company had 9,000 employees on the site.

In its release, Georgia Power said the reduction would limit the effects of the virus, “including ongoing challenges with labour productivity that have been exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19.”

Georgia Power spokesman John Kraft said the company has had issues with absenteeism as people chose to stay home because of fears from the virus.

“A number of our workers are already personally choosing to stay off the site due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” he said.

“The project management has asked for an approximate 20% reduction to the craft workforce through a self-selection process.”

Mr Kraft said the “mitigating action” is expected to help increase the workforce productivity and reduce absenteeism. It is also intended to help lessen the impact of Covid-19 on the workforce by allowing for increased social distancing and further facilitating the latest recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vogtle-3 and Vogtle-4 are the first commercial nuclear plants to be built in the US in a generation and the only new units under construction in the country.

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