PDT Staff Writer
PIKETON – Governor Ted Strickland looked like a man who just saw a dream combined with hard work come together, when he left the stage at the announcement Piketon will be the location of America’s first clean energy park project.
“This is a good day for southern Ohio.” Strickland told the Portsmouth Daily Times. “The team that has been brought together — with Duke Energy, Jim Rogers, who is a great corporate leader, with AREVA, this really quite magnificent French Company that has taken nuclear power and has perfected it, and is now partnering with Duke for this project. And then, when you think about USEC, and its attempts to construct a new fuel processing facility here, we will have it all, right here on this reservation.”
Strickland said the creation of the nuclear power facility has the possibility of having a long-range effect.
“We can produce the fuel needed for nuclear power plants. We can produce good jobs. We can create a new nuclear power production facility,” Strickland said. ‘It will be good for southern Ohio, good for Ohio, and great for America.”
Strickland said many segments of society will benefit from the construction and operation of the nuclear facility.
“I think it means a lot to the country. It means a lot to the State of Ohio, but it especially means a lot to southern Ohio,” Strickland told the Portsmouth Daily Times. “Because this facility, when it is built, will create jobs, good paying jobs. It will produce lots of energy that is clean energy. And it will, I think, help revitalize the economy in this part of the state that has suffered so grievously for so many years with job loss.”
Strickland was asked if state money would be involved in the project, and he responded it would not be necessary. He then explained the makeup of the consortium.
“We are obviously going to be needing to do work with the U.S. Department of Energy,” Strickland said. “This is a private/public partnership. And this reservation is owned by the people of this country. It’s a United States-owned facility in terms of the reservation, and, of course, that would be made available. So it’s a combination of Duke, AREVA, UniStar, will all be working together. And they will all be putting their resources together.”
Strickland said only three other states consume more electricity than Ohio and only 14 countries around the world use more energy than Ohio.
He said the plant will provide power for other parts of the country.
Just minutes before, a consortium consisting of Duke Energy, AREVA, UniStar Nuclear Energy, USEC Inc., and Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) was introduced to the news media, employees, and government office holders in attendance.
SODI is the local component to the group planning on building the nuclear power plant on a portion of the Department of Energy site in Piketon.
“Our mission has been to bring more jobs to the area,” said SODI board member Steve Carter. “To reutilize the wonderful assets this site has. We are a partner with this consortium of industrial companies. It’s all about job creation. It’s all about improving southern Ohio’s economy.”
In 2003 the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded $300,000 to SODI as a part of the project to clean up the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant on the same site being considered for the nuclear facility.
One of the chief officers involved in the consortium, Anne Lauvergeon, chairman and chief executive officer of AREVA, told the Times the partnership is the result of months of hard work.
“We have worked with Duke Energy for a long long time, but more and more we have become partners, “ Lauvergeon said. “We are partnering now in a joint venture. We partnered with Jim Rogers almost nine months ago.”
Lauvergeon was referring to Rogers, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy.
“We face the indisputable fact that our nation and our world are transitioning to a low-carbon future,” Rogers said. “Today, with the creation of this clean energy park demonstration project — the partners in this alliance, the state of Ohio and our country, are edging a little further across the bridge to that future.”
Lauvergeon told the Times she is excited about this latest venture for her company which is in the forefront of nuclear production around the world.
“We know we have a lot to do, but we are ready to work hard to make sure the construction can start as soon as possible, because it means a lot of new jobs. It means 4,000 to 5,000 new jobs on the site and lots of jobs beyond,” Lauvergeon said.
Lauvergeon said, after construction is complete, 500 to 700 permanent jobs will be created over the 60-year life expectancy of the facility.
FRANK LEWIS may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.