Fairfield County, SC (WLTX) - Roughly 5000 people are working to build the nuclear reactors at V.C. Summer. Some of those workers come from across the country and over 100 of them live a short distance away in campers at the Broad River Campground.
"Sometimes it's hard, but I mean you do what you've got to do to make a decent living," Jeff Connell said.
Connell has welded around the world from his home in Mississippi, across the United States and even in Switzerland.
"You don't get to see most of your family, you know because you're off working all the time," he said.
Connell managed to keep his time away from home relatively short. The longest stretched lasted about seven months. For now, he lives here with his wife at the Broad River Campground in Fairfield County. He works for Carolina Energy supervising other welders as they build the nuclear units.
"I've had people drive all of the way in from Washington," D. Melton said.
Melton opened the campground in 2010 and said everyone living here came for the work. The first reactor was supposed to be up and running in April of 2016, but it's still not finished. Billions of dollars have been spent, main partner Westinghouse filed for bankruptcy and SCANA may scrap the whole thing. If that happens Melton said his campground would see a change in clientele.
"It would probably slow us down a little bit. We'd probably start pulling off of the interstate a little bit, recreational campers and that sort of thing," he said. "Talking to all of the workers out here, people in the campground, everybody's very positive that they do want to go forward and continue to build the plant."
About 5,000 people work on the projects, so what happens to them if it fails? Connell said it's just a part of life as a contractor.
"Nothing is permanent, nothing is in writing you know, you're employed to come to work at a job that you don't know what the outcome may be," he said.
Connell said he is confident that the nuclear plants will be built and he's hoping more work will follow, wherever that may be.
"I'm still young enough. I'd like to go to the next project you know and build another one," Connell said.