The U.S. Department of Energy has started negotiations with General Electric's nuclear division on a proposal to replace Paducah's aging uranium enrichment plant with a new one.
GE Hitachi Nuclear Energy wants to build a laser enrichment facility that would make use of the depleted uranium kept at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. The Energy Department announced Wednesday that it has selected the company to begin exclusive negotiations for the sale of the uranium inventory.
U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, along with Rep. Ed Whitfield, said in a news release that the new plant would create hundreds of permanent jobs at the site.
The Paducah plant had been a major employer for two generations but is being mothballed. Layoffs began earlier this year.
A memorial to nuclear industry workers during the Cold War is beginning to take shape in Paducah. In the six months since a house was moved to a corner lot, the building has been renovated as the anchor point for the ambitious plan.