GE-Hitachi plant in Canonsburg set to close

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Several years after GE-Hitachi acquired the Ionics fabrication shop in Canonsburg as part of a larger deal, the renamed GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Custom Fabrication Plant will cease operations there at the end of October, citing a business loss to a competitor.

Christopher White, a company spokesman, said 134 people work at the plant: 119 hourly workers and 15 salaried employees. That does not include those who have taken other GE positions or who took early retirement as the likelihood of a closure loomed.

Mr. White said the plant specializes in manufacturing storage containers for spent nuclear fuel rods. Its main customer was a Georgia nuclear consulting company, NAC International.

He said a competitor struck a deal with NAC, meaning it could no longer work with the Canonsburg fabrication shop. 

GE-Hitachi is the result of a 2007 joint venture between the two companies. The Connecticut company bought Ionics in 2005. Mr. White said GE-Hitachi primarily builds commercial nuclear reactors, and the storage canisters were not central to its business model.

The plant site, 50 Curry Ave., has a storied industrial history. In the 1920s, Continental Can Co. built a factory there, and during the 1940s the factory was retooled to support the war effort.

McGraw-Edison and Cooper Industries once had operations nearby. Still left in the industrial complex are operations by Pennsylvania Breaker, GE-Hitachi and Pennsylvania Transformer Technology, which owns the property.

Correction, May 23: A story Thursday about the upcoming closing of the GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy Custom Fabrication Plant in Canonsburg contained several errors. First, GE-Hitachi acquired Ionics, the predecessor to the current fabrication shop, in 2005. The date was incorrect. GE-Hitachi is a joint venture between the two companies. The relationship of the two was incorrect. Finally, a reader could have inferred that Westinghouse acquired NAC International, a nuclear consulting company that was GE-Hitachi’s main customer. NAC was acquired by another company last year.

Brett Sholtis: or 412-263-1581.

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