1,000 Ameren nuclear plant jobs means local economic boost

11 months 1 week 5 days ago Thursday, October 12 2017 Oct 12, 2017 Thursday, October 12, 2017 7:30:00 AM CDT October 12, 2017 in News
By: Claire Kopsky, KOMU 8 Reporter
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FULTON - Ameren Missouri hired 1,000 workers to help with the refueling and maintenance outage bringing business to Callaway County.

There are usually about 800 permanent employees at Ameren’s Callaway Energy Center causing businesses to notice a significant increase of visitors.

Garry Vaught and his wife Rebekah have owned Bek’s restaurant in Fulton for almost 13 years and said whenever Ameren adds jobs, his restaurant experiences weeks of increased customers. 

“In the twelve years I’ve been here, we always restructure ourselves because of the outage,” he said. “We’ve had it for so many years it’s just kind of, you know, it’s a given and we’re used to it.” 

He adds more staff on busier shifts and orders more food to prepare. On average, Vaught said his restaurant serves about 50 more tables a week when the workers are in town.

In the weeks leading up to the announcement of hiring workers, Vaught said his restaurant’s private room is often rented out for what he thinks are Ameren executives’ final planning meetings.

Bruce Hackmann, the economic development director at the Callaway County Chamber of Commerce, said they try to alert local businesses of the influx of people in the county so they can prepare.

Ameren does not power Callaway County, but the county serves the workers just the same.

A local inn, County Hearth Inn & Suites said it is hosting dozens of nuclear plant workers. The workers will occupy 54 of its 65 rooms for the next few months.

Mobile Test Engineer Casey Ralph is staying at Country Hearth Inn & Suites and said this is his third stint working at the Callaway Energy Center. He said staying in the local inns in Fulton has been a positive experience every year.

This is the 22nd time Ameren Missouri has planned a refueling and maintenance outage and says clients should not notice any difference in service while the work at the plant is occurring.

Ameren Missouri confirmed it filled all the positions for the project.

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