Control Room

The first nuclear energy reactors to be built in the U.S. in over 30 years are currently being constructed at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. The United States has not built new nuclear plants since the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Interested in the city of Waynesboro and Plant Vogtle, I set out to discover what components existed to make it the site of the nuclear renaissance.

Speckled throughout Waynesboro are thousands of RVs inhabited by Plant Vogtle workers. Like the boomtowns of the 19th century gold rush, the rapid population shift will be short lived. Workers come from all across the country with temporary jobs such as welding and running power lines from the new cooling towers. The city has high poverty and cancer rates, and while few residents work at Plant Vogtle, the temporary jobs bring hope to the community. While some residents embrace the plant, others have fought against it since the first two reactors were built in the 1980’s, and they witnessed health and economic declines after the construction. Most recently, a community of activists has risen up. Health, as they see it, is a currency that is being exchanged for temporary jobs.

Waynesboro is likely to be the first of many cities grappling with these issues, as the nuclear renaissance continues to spread across the southeast and nuclear energy is revitalized as a solution in the climate change battle.

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Control Room

The first nuclear energy reactors to be built in the U.S. in over 30 years are currently being constructed at Plant Vogtle in Waynesboro, Georgia. The United States has not built new nuclear plants since the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Interested in the city of Waynesboro and Plant Vogtle, I set out to discover what components existed to make it the site of the nuclear renaissance.

Speckled throughout Waynesboro are thousands of RVs inhabited by Plant Vogtle workers. Like the boomtowns of the 19th century gold rush, the rapid population shift will be short lived. Workers come from all across the country with temporary jobs such as welding and running power lines from the new cooling towers. The city has high poverty and cancer rates, and while few residents work at Plant Vogtle, the temporary jobs bring hope to the community. While some residents embrace the plant, others have fought against it since the first two reactors were built in the 1980’s, and they witnessed health and economic declines after the construction. Most recently, a community of activists has risen up. Health, as they see it, is a currency that is being exchanged for temporary jobs.

Waynesboro is likely to be the first of many cities grappling with these issues, as the nuclear renaissance continues to spread across the southeast and nuclear energy is revitalized as a solution in the climate change battle.