Local Impact of the Plant

The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant has had a significant impact on southern Ohio. This section covers the impact the plant had during the construction phase in the 1950s.

Site Selection

On October 19, 1951 The Director of Production, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, authorized the Oak Ridge Operations Office to undertake investigations related to selection of the best site for an entirely new gaseous diffusion plant.

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Land Acquisition

The Corps of Engineers, U. S. Army, was selected to manage the acquisition of land because of the availability of qualified and experienced personnel. USACE management arranged to use such personnel in the acquisition of all properties required for the new site.

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Source of Workforce

A special survey of the labor market in the area of the project was made at its inception by the Division of Research and Statistics of the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation, Columbus, Ohio in cooperation with the Division of Reports and Analysis of the Bureau of Unemployment Security, Washington, D.C.

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The Portsmouth Project would result in an influx of people into Pike County and the surrounding communities. Gordon Dean, then Chairman of the AEC, requested that the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA) undertake the responsibility of assuring adequate housing for the permanent project operating personnel.

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Local Infrastructure

Waverly received a Federal grant under Public Law 139 in the amount of $598,300 during the early part of 1953 for expansion of its sewage system and a loan of $75,000 in connection with expansion of the water system. The community of Waverly voted a bond issue of $600,000, which defrayed the major portion of the water program.

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The United States Office of Education approved federal aid for construction of permanent schools in the area. Temporary schools were constructed with federal funds.

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As previously mentioned, many of the employees required for the project would be recruited from the small communities surrounding the 3700-acre site of the new project, including Portsmouth and Chillicothe, each about 20 miles from the site.

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Take a Look Inside the Plant

Using our interactive map, you can locate individual buildings within the plant and learn more about its purpose throughout history. Clicking on a building will bring you in-depth information, photos, and videos.

Click Here to See Interactive Map