Today, USEC, Duke Energy and the international nuclear company AREVA announced plans for a new 1,650-megawatt nuclear reactor to be built in Piketon, Ohio, creating even more jobs for southern Ohio. The announcement comes almost a year after USEC announced it would build a new uranium enrichment plant in Piketon.

Nuclear plants are fueled with low-enriched uranium and the U.S. currently has very limited uranium enrichment capabilities. While America’s limited domestic enrichment is currently provided by USEC’s plant in Paducah, Kentucky, the company is building a new $3.5 billion plant in Piketon (three other enrichment plants are also being built or planned in the U.S.). USEC estimates that the American Centrifuge Project will create 3,300 jobs in Ohio, as well as an additional 3,000 direct and indirect jobs for USEC’s suppliers to expand appropriately to manufacture the centrifuge machine parts. Residents of Pike County, the county with third highest unemployment rate in Ohio at 15.1 percent, are happy:

I think it’s for the greater good, but I hope they are stringent about safety protocols,” said Piketon resident Kevin McClary. “I’ve seen smiles on people’s faces because of the jobs it will bring on in.”

More on jobs here:

The construction will take seven to 12 years to complete and will create thousands of jobs during the construction phase. The location of the plant would put it two hours outside of Cincinnati.

“There’s a lot of pipe that goes into a power house. It’s mostly pipe. There’s a lot of pipe,” said Marty Naseef, business manager of the Plumbers, Pipefitters and Mechanical Equipment Local Union No. 392. “That job will go on for a while, and once it gets up and running, there will be future jobs. It will never stop.”

Once the plant is finished, it’s projected to create up to 700 full-time jobs that will require training and pay a premium.”

It seems that Ohio is quickly becoming ground zero for the nuclear renaissance. Not only are they now getting a new reactor and a new enrichment plant, but just last week, Babcock & Wilcox announced that they would be offering the mPower modular reactor. Given B& W’s long history of manufacturing nuclear components in Ohio, it is safe to assume that some mPower parts will also be built there. On top of that, the Department of Energy’s depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion plant will come online in 2010, giving DOE an operating nuclear facility.

For those concerned about the safety of nuclear power, check out Heritage’s policy paper, “Dispelling Myths About Nuclear Energy,” or visit the Nuclear Energy Institute’s page on safety and security.