National

Apr 30, 2010 8:43 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Nuclear industry poised to hire thousands

The Southern Co. believes it can break ground on the country's first nuclear plant in 30 years, but it will need a new generation of workers to run it. Plans for building a wave of nuclear reactors would create a need for 12,000 to 21,000 new workers.

Those positions range from specially trained maintenance crews to nuclear physicists and engineers. The need for labor is especially pressing since more than a third of the country's existing nuclear workers will be eligible for retirement in four years. The Southern Co. is trying to build the nation's first nuclear reactor in 30 years in eastern Georgia.

It and other utilities are backing a new program at nearby Augusta Technical College to provide a new stream of workers. Other nuclear power firms are also partnering with community colleges nationwide on a new training curriculum.

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