Influx of investment at Bruce Power, located near Lake Huron beach country, has ignited the economic fortunes of the surrounding area
The American industrial heartland was reeling in the early 1980s, battered by a recession and the great rusting out of the country’s steel industry, among others. Once mighty one-industry towns, such as Weirton, WV, bled away good-paying, blue-collar jobs.
Walter Rencheck, a 58-year-old steelworker, was one of the casualties. To help bridge the gap between being forced into early retirement at the steel mill and collecting Social Security, he asked his son, Mike — a bright, young electrical engineer dreaming of broader horizons — to put those dreams on hold to support the family and take a job at the nearby nuclear plant in Slovan, Penn.
Rencheck had interviews lined up with Texas Instruments Inc., Westinghouse Electric Corp. and some of the big defence industry firms, but he knew full well where he was headed: home.
But what was meant to be a stopgap gig at the Beaver Valley Power Station would turn into a 12-year run: a hands-on education in all things nuclear, from plant maintenance to outage management, and from reactor startups to engineering whatsits.
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