Vogtle’s work generates benefits for Georgia

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the resulting volatility in global energy markets has made reliable baseload power generated by nuclear power even more critical to our national security. Nuclear power is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, making us less vulnerable to foreign energy sources and global energy shocks. As a result, nuclear energy clearly illustrates a valuable role for our country’s energy independence and national security. We commend California for its recent extension of the life of its Diablo Canyon nuclear plant as it grapples with its own energy challenges, demonstrating the stabilizing value of including nuclear in the energy mix.

Plant Vogtle is also an engine of economic development, supporting more than 800 permanent jobs from an increasingly diverse workforce – more than 30% of new recruits at Vogtle are veterans and reservists. In total, nuclear energy provides 8,000 jobs throughout Georgia. The demand for jobs in the nuclear energy field is only expected to increase over time.

The role of the working-class community in Vogtle’s expansion cannot be overstated. The highly skilled unionized workers at the site valiantly persevered despite myriad challenges to move the project forward, putting the best interests of Georgians first. It is no exaggeration to say that the expansion of Plant Vogtle could very well have come to a halt entirely due to the pandemic if it were not for the tireless efforts of the unions in the region. American unions have an important role to play in building the more resilient, highly skilled workforce of tomorrow – a workforce well-positioned to carry the torch of historic projects like Plant Vogtle while earning wages High quality.

Plant Vogtle’s expansion represents many things: a resounding endorsement for collaboration between unions and clean energy companies, a reminder of the importance of investing in workforce development and production carbon-free energy, and a reflection on how large-scale projects can serve to both benefit local communities and move the needle nationally.

It’s no surprise, then, that its expansion brings together a former US Representative from Georgia, a local labor leader and a conservative environmental advocate to voice our collective support for carbon-free nuclear power. As we look to the horizon, we can only hope that Plant Vogtle is the first of many projects that harness the collective power of a dedicated workforce and clean energy innovation to build the energy future that coming generations deserve in Georgia and across the country. This future seems a little less uncertain.

Tom Graves is a former Republican United States Representative who served in Georgia’s 14th congressional district. Will Salters is business manager and financial secretary for International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1579 in Augusta. Justin Jones is a member of the American Conservation Coalition and a student at the University of West Georgia.