[Update: On 5/6/08 Areva chose Idaho Falls as the site for its new uranium enrichment plant.]
Ohio Governor Ted Strickland is said to have made public statements in support of locating Areva's planned uranium enrichment plant at Piketon, OH. According to a report on a Dayton, OH, blog, Gov. Strickland has announced that he would like to bring a new uranium enrichment plant to Piketon which would be owned by AREVA.
According to a report in the Chillicothe Gazette, Strickland discussed the issue with Dan Rogers, plant Director at the American Centrifuge plant, which is also located in Piketon and which also produces enriched uranium. The newspaper reports an astonishing dialog in which Strickland asks Rogers whether his firm's plans for a new plant would be able to obtain financing given Areva's interest in locating in that city. Areva is a direct competitor of the U.S. Enrichment Corp. (USEC) which also makes enriched uranium for nuclear fuel. For his part Rogers says come hell, high water, or Areva, he's going to get the money, close to $3 billion, for the new plant.
Last year citizens groups in the area came out like swarms of angry hornets for hearings held last year when a GNEP facility was proposed for Piketon which is also a nuclear waste cleanup site managed by the Department of Energy. More than 300 people testified against the GNEP project. Citizens groups have objected to any new nuclear facilities at the site until the current one is cleaned up. The political landscape looks like an alien battlefield with hovering fleets of flying saucers zapping a rouge planet. Strickland also supported the GNEP plant at Piketon which likely makes his new statement in support of an Areva plant there about equally popular with opponents.
For its part Areva has said repeatedly that it will not locate its new uranium enrichment plant where it is not wanted. if the Ohio citizens groups are to be believed, then clearly Areva has a problem in Ohio. Maybe that's why of all five proposed sites for the uranium enrichment plant, Areva has said the least about it at least to the news media.
Is this report over-the-top? I don't think so. Anytime a community turns down serious money, such as a $2 billion uranium enrichment plant, that's serious news. People have to be pretty angry to kick a major corporation in the shins especially one that would bring 200 high paying jobs to their community. Yup, the metaphor in the lead makes sense to me.