Duke Energy to help build nuclear plant at Ohio site

CINCINNATI — Duke Energy said today it will join four partners to explore construction of a nuclear plant, its first in the Midwest, at a federal site in southern Ohio.

Duke made the announcement in Piketon, Ohio, with nuclear vendor Areva; fuel supplier USEC Inc., which leases much of the 3,700-acre site; UniStar Nuclear Energy, which provides licensing, construction and operating services; and the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative, an economic development agency.

The Energy Department's Portsmouth site in Piketon opened in the 1950s to enrich uranium for use in nuclear fuel and defense applications. It's now undergoing cleanup for contamination.

The "clean energy park" the group envisions is part of an Energy Department program to turn former weapons sites into energy producers. The partners will seek federal funding for the project's initial phase.

Duke will manage the project and would serve as the applicant for federal licenses.

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