Two new nuclear plants could create thousands of jobs in Midlands - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Two new nuclear plants could create thousands of jobs in Midlands

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Two more nuclear plants could be headed to Fairfield County.

Right now, SCE&G is working to get permission to build the $10 billion reactors near the VC Summer Nuclear Plant in Jenkinsville.

A lot of people don't like that idea -- like protestors from environmental groups at a public service commission hearing last month.

But there is another group of people who are excited about the prospect of two nuclear reactors and the possibilities they could bring with them.

In a year forecasting massive job losses, students at Midlands Tech could see job opportunity.

Midlands Tech President Sonny White is optimistic that if SCE&G's two proposed nuclear reactors are approved, thousands of jobs will be created.

"We're looking at more than 3,000 skilled craftworkers required to build those plants over the next ten years," White said.

In fact, Midlands Tech is designing new programs specifically intended to prepare students for these nuclear jobs.

Classes began Monday for the brand new nuclear operator program, the first in South Carolina.

White says anyone with a high school degree can enroll in these programs and most could be eligible to start working in less than a year.

"We can prepare those people in six months to a year for jobs that will start them at around $35,000 a year," White said.

It's a prospect that depends on whether the public service commission will approve SCE&G's nuclear plans.

Opposition to the plants is coming from the mayor of Jenkinsville, Gregrey Ginyard, Sr. He says he's concerned about the safety risks two new nuclear reactors might pose. He's already lived by one nuclear reactor for over 25 years.

"Now you've got two more to worry about, that's gonna put three reactors right in our neighborhood, right on top of us," Ginyard said.

Just about 2 miles from Gregrey's house at the VC Summer site, ground breaking has already begun on the two new nuclear reactors. SCE&G hopes the Public Service Commission will approve the reactors by the end of February, and they hope major construction will being later this month.

"Am I just overjoyed with it? No I'm not," Ginyard said.

While Gregrey hopes the two new reactors could help the Midlands economy, he says his main concern is for the citizens of Jenkinsville.

He feels the location of the plants puts Jenkinsville in a high-risk zone. And he feels SCE&G should compensate the town for that.

"Some of that money should be filtered back to the community," Ginyard said.

Gregrey wants that money to go toward the town's infrastructure, building community centers and improving it's fire protection.

"Hopefully SCANA will treat us as great neighbors the way we wanted to treat them as great neighbors," Ginyard said.

Reported by Jordan Sandler

Posted by Jeremy Turnage

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