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McConnell Discusses PGDP Site Cleanup, Future Jobs
By Tim Brockwell
PADUCAH, KY - Senator Mitch McConnell spoke on behalf of Paducah to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz Wednesday during a Senate Energy and Water Development Appropriations Subcommittee hearing.

During the hearing, McConnell thanked Secretary Moniz for the attention he has given the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Site, and for his work on future opportunities there. McConnell said he remains concerned though with the Department's long-term plans for cleanup at the site.

"As you know, the administration's decision to cease enrichment at the facility has already led to hundreds of layoffs of hard working, highly-skilled Kentuckians and has created a great deal of hardship and anxiety in the community," McConnell said. " As I have noted in previous conversations, there are certain steps that I hope you will take to help mitigate the impact of the facility's eventual closing by moving forward with vital cleanup work."

The Department of Energy is expected to award a contract for site cleanup in September, but Senator McConnell and the Kentucky federal delegation have asked the DOE to begin this work sooner if possible. The members also are urging DOE to hire a dedicated site manager for Paducah, which hasn't happened yet.

In a Wednesday morning interview on the Greg Dunker Show, McConnell said if ongoing negotiations with GE Hitachi to locate a laser enrichment facility at the PGDP site prove successful, it could mean hundreds of new jobs for the community.

That may take a while though.

"Negotiations are continuing regarding the GE Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment Facility," McConnell said. If these negotiations are completed successfully, GE will then have to go through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process, which takes a couple of years."

McConnell said that if the negotiations are successful, the new facility could bring three to five-hundred new permanent full-time jobs. GE Hitachi plans to invest over $1 billion in the project, which would also create thousands of temporary construction jobs.

Published 03:44 PM, Wednesday Apr. 09, 2014
Updated 04:35 PM, Thursday Apr. 10, 2014

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