February 2012

Ironworkers Provide Solution to Specialized Welding Needs at Plant Vogtle

Through the support of a grant from the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT), Ironworkers Local Union 709 (Savannah, Ga.) is training welders to use specialized tools and techniques at a Georgia Power—which is a subsidiary of the Southern Company—nuclear plant in Burke County, Ga.

SAVANNAH, GA.—When Iron Worker customers want results, they get them—and fast.
IMPACT and Local 709 are proud to announce the culmination of a recent Regional Advisory Board (RAB) grant, which funds specialized training and upgrading for ironworker welders. The grant and training come in response to jobsite needs at Plant Vogtle, our nation’s newest nuclear power facility, located in Burke County, Ga.

The $30,000 welding grant was written, presented to IMPACT’s Region V Executive Committee and approved—all in less than one month. “When one of our good customers needs our help, we are ready to jump,” said Iron Worker General Vice President Dick Ward. “I immediately contacted my Management Co-Chair Vic Cornellier, and we agreed to make this happen. The truth is, adding value and productivity to this project will help us get the next job,” he said.

Using grant funds, Local 709 acquired three pulse arc-welding machines from Lincoln Electric Co. to train members for the rigorous welding needed at the Vogtle site. The type of welding, referred to as GMAW-P, is a special form of gas-shielded arc welding. The welders are also being trained to weld from remote locations.

“We have to use stainless duplex metal and wire for this type of welding. Both of these pieces are very expensive,” said Ed Abbott, executive director for the Welding Certification program at the National Training Fund. “Between the expense of the materials and the special training, our local needed some help. IMPACT stepped in and provided money for as-needed training for our members. We couldn’t ask for more,” he said.

“Currently, Local 709 has two specialized welders and ten stick welders at Plant Vogtle,” said David Edenfield, business manager of Local 709. “But as a result of this training, we are ready to provide many more.”

Plant Vogtle operates as part of Georgia Power, a subsidiary of the Southern Company, which is a long-time partner for the Iron Workers and IMPACT.