Clean energy plant for nuclear batteries coming to Etna

Westinghouse plans to make the first building you see when you enter the borough of Etna a clean energy plant for nuclear batteries. It’s an announcement that sparked a lot of excitement and some fear.

“It’s much safer and much more productive now than it ever has been.”

Etna fire chief Greg Porter says despite confusion from some residents, “It’s much safer and much more productive now than it ever has been. I think immediately there was some concern and some reaction.”

Westinghouse’s plans to open a new nuclear battery plant are safe.

“We’ve been able to do a little bit of homework and understand what the hazards are to the fire department, the facility itself, and to the neighbors of the facility,” Porter said.

After meeting with Westinghouse’s safety group, Porter says he learned that while the plant will manufacture the nuclear batteries, none of the radioactive material will be housed onsite. That will be done remotely.

“What they are doing here is they are actually designing and assembling the components but not necessarily readying the device for distribution,” Porter said.

Along with manufacturing the battery components, the facility will also be the home of company’s new robotic technology center.

We also reached out to the county to see if they had any concerns and they said it was too early to tell, but added that the region is familiar with this sort of plant and confident in its safety.

While the building will likely be up and running by the end of this year, manufacturing will not begin until mid-next year and the chief says if needed, they’ll be ready when it does.

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