Strong History Lays Solid Foundation for Plant’s Future

Posted December 17, 2015 by Jim Cook


Imagine producing enough high-quality nuclear fuel tubing to encircle the Earth more than three-and-a-quarter times. Imagine generations of families working for the same company, and even in the same facility. Imagine 20 percent of the current plant population having a family member who worked at the facility. For the employees of the Westinghouse plant in Blairsville, Pennsylvania (USA), these contributions to the nuclear industry and the world are a reality.

This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Westinghouse Blairsville Plant, which manufactures zirconium-alloy tubing products used in nuclear fuel assemblies for Westinghouse nuclear fuel, our licensees and other customers worldwide. The state-of-the-art manufacturing plant is located on a 485-acre site in Blairsville, Pa., approximately 40 miles east of Pittsburgh and 60 miles southeast of Westinghouse headquarters in Cranberry Township, Pa.

Our doors opened in 1955, at which time the plant served as a metal foundry and once made various items including castings and turbine blades. We began manufacturing zirconium-alloy tubing in the 1960s – a focus constant in the decades since.

While our plant has undergone many changes in the last 60 years, two very important items have remained steadfast:

Our commitment to safety is paramount with a constant focus on quality and customer support
At Westinghouse, safety is our first priority with a steady focus on quality and customer support. At SMP, we use high tech manufacturing and inspection systems to meet the exacting standards and demanding tolerances required by our customers, providing assurance that every tube and component manufactured and inspected at our plant is of the highest quality, with a constant focus on safety.

Our talented and dedicated workforce
Our employees are critical to our success. The facility employs more than 300 skilled laborers and professionals over three shifts – providing around-the-clock expertise. This is a dedicated group of employees; in fact, more than a quarter of our current workforce has 25 or more years of experience at our facility.

Cecilia Hewitt, Debbie Keegan, Brett Leysock, George Marshall, Rod Marshall, Dave and Greg Smith, and Ray Stopa are all second-generation employees of the Westinghouse Blairsville Plant – following in their parents’ footsteps here. Butch, Jim and Ryan Buczak along with Robert, Gary and Brian King have the unique privilege of representing three generations at this facility. Stories like this are common at the plant, and I know it stems from the deep-seated pride that our employees have in our plant, our work and in the part that we play to contribute to our communities.

I applaud our team and those who came before us to create this world-class operation. I look forward to the innovative work that I know will continue to be produced by our current and future workforce for another 60 years. Through a strong knowledge transfer program and the support of employee development, we will help our customers generate safer, cleaner, more reliable energy for more people for many years to come. 

Jim Cook

Jim Cook

Plant Manager, Blairsville
Westinghouse Electric Company
Categories: History
Tags: zirconium alloy, Blairsville, manufacturing, nuclear fuel assemblies,