Good news of 121 new manufacturing jobs for Fulton Co. amid worries of Paducah uranium plant closure

08/02/2013 03:46 PM

FULTON – Auto parts manufacturer A. Kayser Automotive Systems USA plans to build a factory in job-starved Fulton County — population 6,755 — that would create 121 new jobs.

It was a rare bit of positive economic news for the Purchase fegion of Kentucky, whose residents are bracing for the closure of a major employer: the Paducah Gasesous Diffusion Plant, which processed uranium.

The company is a subsidiary of German-based A. Kayser Automotive Systems GmbH and manufactures modules and ready-to-install systems for automotive original equipment in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

It’s the company’s first plant in the United States, Gov. Steve Beshear said during the announcement on Friday in Fulton.

Beshear, who went on an economic development trip to Germany in January, said
while he would like to attract some large companies to the commonwealth, he is happy to land the smaller company which will help the workers in far western Kentucky. But in a county of fewer than 7,000 people and an unemployment rate of more than 15 percent, 121 jobs are a big deal.

“The suppliers that supply all of the big companies are great and they are looking, many of them, for smaller communities,” Beshear said.

However, 1,100 western Kentucky jobs are up in the air at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Beshear met earlier this week with vice President Joe Biden to try to come up with a plan that will allow most of the plant employees to keep their jobs as efforts take place to clean up nuclear material from the site.

“We need to bring some type of business operation in there that’s going to hire people,” he said on Friday.

Although he didn’t mention U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell by name, Beshear said he is working with all members of the Kentucky congressional delegation to try to save the jobs at the plant. But Beshear acknowledged that all may not be saved.

“Those eleven hundred jobs, it’ll be hard to replace all eleven hundred,” said Beshear.


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