FULTON - Temporary workers at Callaway's Nuclear Plant spent money at local businesses on Wednesday, and that's giving the local economy a boost.
The plant's planned outage began October 15 and will last until mid-November. During that time, the plant brings in an additional 1,000 workers to help with repairs, refueling and maintainance. These workers work in conjunction with 800 workers the plant already employs.
Executive Director of Callaway Chamber of Commerce, Nancy Lewis, estimated that each of these workers spends about $4,000 while they are here. That's about $4 million for local businesses. She said these workers are spending this money throughout the surrounding area; she said it has an impact on Columbia, Jefferson City and Mexico.
Jodi Behrens started working at Fulton's Holiday Inn Express one month ago. She said many of the workers have been staying in the hotel and last month, they had record-setting occupancy.
James Lackey is staying at the hotel and he works the night shift at the plant.
"There's quite a few of us and I would appreciate people not slamming their doors because I sleep during the day."
Lackey, like his fellow workers, enjoys eating at local restaurants during his time off. "I eat out every day. I've eaten probably at, I've tried all the steak places town, I've tried the pizza places and just every day I eat somewhere different."
Lackey hasn't eaten at the Huddle House next door to the hotel. However, Huddle House server Ciara Hopkins said that a lot of workers come in to grab a bite to eat.
"I've been making hundreds of dollars the past couple nights. It's been really, really good around here."
Hopkins said she's noticed some new faces as well. Many of these workers travel from across the country to work temporarily at the plant.
Lackey said, "I see cars in the parking lot from, everywhere from Alaska to the east coast, Florida to all over. These people, they travel from nuclear plant to nuclear plant."
Lewis said these temporary workers are very skilled and they do this for a living. They go from nuclear power plant to nuclear power plant to work the outages. These workers are spending their money at restaurants, lodging and shops in Jefferson City, Fulton, Hermann, Montogomery City, Columbia and smaller communities.
"They don't spend extra money other than food and gas and some place to sleep. But it adds certainly to the economy and they're usually good paying jobs so it's wonderful for us every time they come," said Lewis.
The plant schedules planned outages every 18 months. Lewis said as a Fulton resident, she hasn't noticed a difference around town when the workers come to town.
"Generally you don't see them because they work such long hours and they're sleepy when they're here. So it generally doesn't make a difference to visibility to residence."
Lackey said some temporary workers have already left. The plant will open mid-November.