Nuclear Containment Systems Company to Build Facility in Aiken, S.C.

A nuclear containment systems company is building a production facility in Aiken County and could bring 800 jobs with it.

Global Containment Systems, a subsidiary of St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Flanders Corp., will build a 400,000-square-foot facility near the New Ellenton entrance to Savannah River Site.

The facility will be used to design, manufacture, install and maintain nuclear containment equipment, according to Flanders' Aug. 24 filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

"GCS is ready to facilitate the requirements of the scheduled projects at Savannah River Site and other national laboratories and nuclear facilities worldwide," chief executive Robert Amerson said in the filing.

"We are excited about the progress being made at the Savannah River National Laboratory and other sites to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and to develop a safe and efficient nuclear energy."

The market for nuclear containment is a growing one that will be worth about $2 billion over the next 10 years, the filing says.

Local officials confirmed that 600 to 800 jobs might be created once the plant is fully operational. They are still unsure how long that process will take.

Officials also were uncertain about the size of the property purchased but confirmed that there is room for expansion.

The plant will be an economic boon for the area, which has suffered as SRS has downsized.

"A lot of surrounding communities right near the site, be it Jackson or New Ellenton, have seen economic stagnation from the downturn," said Scott Singer, the Aiken County councilman who represents New Ellenton. "I think we can see a multiplier effect for those two communities."

Fred Humes, the executive director of the Aiken/Edgefield Economic Development Partnership, would not discuss details.

"We will wait to Dec. 8 and make our announcements then," he said.

Will Folks, a spokesman for Gov. Mark Sanford, said the governor will be in the Aiken area next week.

Flanders, whose products include air filters for Lysol and Arm & Hammer, has more than 2,100 employees in 13 facilities worldwide.

The company has been expanding its product line to handle the needs of precision manufacturers in the semiconductor and pharmaceutical industries.