Nuclear Plants to Hire 50K in Next Five Years


"Personnel demand is powering up after over two decades of dormancy."

For graduates of Lakeshore Technical College's four-semester Nuclear Technology program, the job opportunities should be plentiful, with annual pay starting at about $50,000.

That's because demand for power plant personnel is powering up after more than two decades of dormancy.

"The Nuclear Energy Institute estimates our industry will be needing about 50,000 new workers over the next five years," said Mike Hale, radiation protection and chemistry manager for Kewaunee Power Station, owned by Dominion Resources Inc.

The company signed a memorandum of understanding with LTC after urging it to resume the nuclear technology program it suspended about 20 years ago following the Three Mile Island disaster near Middletown, Pa., in 1979 and a suspension of new nuclear plant construction in many states, including Wisconsin.

The result of the moratorium: There have been few if any jobs created in the industry in the past two to three decades.

But political tides have shifted and energy demands have increased. LTC is in the third year of the revived program, accepting 18 students at its Cleveland campus and another six at Northeast Technical College in Green Bay each year, who receive TV-based distance learning.

Hale and other Kewaunee Power Station personnel have reviewed LTC course materials to be sure they meet industry standards and will serve as the foundation for students pursuing careers in nuclear technology.

With course names in the program like "Health Physics Calculations and Statistics," "Nuclear Systems and Sources" and "Reactor Theory and Operation," the intimidation factor could come into play—along with the requirement that students must earn a minimum of a B grade in every core class.

But that's fine with Sheboygan's Zachariah Hall, Manitowoc's Brady Risch and Mishicot's Courtney Zima, all in their second semester.

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