PORTSMOUTH — During this week’s Scioto County Commissioners Meeting, the Commissioners recognized the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant on its’ 70th anniversary of operation.
Commissioner Cathy Coleman said she is thankful for the plant.
“I am thankful, my father was one of the first persons hired and worked his whole life until the late eighties,” said Coleman. “With my past job with Boone Coleman Construction, we had many contracts up there, many workers up there, and supplied jobs for many many people and income.”
Coleman said she appreciates everything the plant has done through the years.
Commissioner Bryan Davis said he feels it shows a lot of pride being built in Portsmouth.
“I think there’s a lot of pride in the fact that it was built here by local labor and of course a lot of labor came to help,” said Davis. “I believe at the height of the construction there were 25,000 people who were involved.”
Decontamination of the plant is going on by Fluor-BWXT.
“It’s a testimony to the technical know-how of the workers in our area and the expertise of the work that was done,” said Davis. “Uranium enrichment isn’t exactly something you do normally, it does take a certain skill set to do it and literally thousands and thousands of Cold War Patriots went through that plan, worked that plan, and in some cases dangered their lives to make sure we have viable resource of enriched uranium.”
Davis said it is a testimony to the community and education facilities.
“The number of people who have gone through Shawnee State and have found work, jobs, at the plant, and now even though the old plant is being taken down we have people working at the American Centrifuge Plant, testing new centrifuges with hopes that the commercial plant will be built in Piketon in the near future to replace the old plant,” said Davis.
Davis said there are over 1,100 residents from Scioto County working at the plant today.
“It’s probably one of our largest employers,” said Davis. “These are high-paying jobs and our hope is while we celebrate the 7oth anniversary, we also look toward the future of 2037 and that is the reindustrialization of the site, whether that be a DOE facility, a private facility, whatever it might be we are always looking toward the future.”
Davis said the commissioners are staying mindful of the future.
“I am very proud of what has happened but always mindful of what has to happen because 2037 is right around the corner when you think about projects and how long it takes to make things happen,” said Davis.
Commissioner Scottie Powell wanted to thank the plant.
“Thank you to the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant,” said Powell. “Happy 70th anniversary.”
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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