Do you remember the days when nuclear was a contractor’s dream? When craftworkers could work outages every fall and spring at a high wage and make enough to take summers off? When companies had to turn down craftworkers looking for outage work because there were more people than positions? Well, those days are far behind us. How many of us struggle every year to fill our outage billets for pipefitters, boilermakers, and electricians? How many of us see return rates of less than 50 percent for some sites?
Our own worst enemy
Industrial growth and demand in the United States have skyrocketed over the past 10 years in no small part due to our ability to provide reliable and low-cost power. The Tennessee Valley region’s population is growing at three times the national average. Nashville is growing at the rate of one Chattanooga—that is, 180,000 people—every four years.