Nuclear power plants are few and far between these days as environmental groups have called into question the impact of the nuclear waste disposal, but the only active nuclear construction site in the United States is under investigation for a different kind of sickness: a rapid Covid outbreak.
At the Plant Vogtle power station in Georgie, just south of Augusta, there are 7000 workers on the clock. But as of August 28th, more than 800 of them had been diagnosed with Covid-19, making the spread at the site far above average. As the cases rose, more than 2000 workers were sent home to quarantine, though the others remained on the job (Georgia did not shut down construction during the lock downs).
In all, 109 workers continue to be sick and approximately 700 have returned to work. According to privacy laws in the state, the company couldn’t divulge if any of the workers had been hospitalized or died.
It is one more setback for the power plant, which has been fighting an uphill battle since construction started. The project is many billions of dollars over budget, and nearly five years behind schedule—which was supposed to begin operation in 2016 or 2017. New projections say that even without Covid setbacks they’ll still need an additional billion dollars in funding and operations likely won’t start until November of 2021.