DOE: GE Hitachi chosen to begin negotiations on future of PGDP
McCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky. - McCracken County Judge Executive Van Newberry told Local 6 he knew months ago when other companies had expressed interest in the plant, that G.E. Hitachi was the best option. Today, local leaders answered some questions that we're all asking, during a special announcement at the Paducah Chamber of Commerce.
The technology is big and new for the nuclear industry, and an area familiar with it.
Judge Executive Van Newberry said G.E. Hitachi's investment will secure three to four hundred high paying jobs for 20 to 30 years.
"For many years now the next generation of uranium enrichment has been the centrifuge process. This is actually beyond that. It's even a higher technology so having been cutting edge with uranium enrichment here in Paducah, I mean we have been doing it for sixty years," Newberry said.
Paducah Economic Development Director Chad Chancellor told Local 6 via telephone, the experienced workforce is what made Paducah so appealing.
"Quite frankly that's one of our number one advantages. You just can't find people who are used to handling nuclear type materials. I'm sure they will be interested in many of the same type folks," Chancellor said.
But it will likely take several years to have the new plant up and running because GE Hitachi wants to use some of the old facility and build a new plant beside it.
There are still lots of questions but one thing's for certain; the future today looks better than it has in a long time.
"We're going to continue enriching uranium out at that facility for decades to come," Newberry said.
Newberry said G.E. Hitachi leaders told him the average salary at the Paducah Plant will be 170-thousand dollars.
The three to four hundred plant jobs are years away and still fewer than the one thousand employed at USEC.
In the meantime, local leaders hope laid off USEC workers can be involved in the cleanup process, for which they are still fighting hard to fund.
It's important to note, even when G.E. Hitachi takes over there's still a lot of cleanup of the original gaseous diffusion plant that needs to be done.
Judge Executive Van Newberry said he expects the three to four years of plant construction to generate a thousand jobs.