DOE officials check out cleanup progress in Paducah

May 27, 2022, 7:00AMRadwaste Solutions
Dae Chung, associate principal deputy assistant secretary for corporate services (second from left) and other EM officials recently toured the Paducah Site. Also pictured (from left) are Jennifer Woodard, acting senior advisor to Chung; Jolie Fleming, technical services director for Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership; and Lisa Phillips, physical scientist. In this photo, they discuss the new criticality accident alarm system in the C-333 process building at Paducah. The building is being deactivated to prepare for future demolition. (Photo: DOE)

Officials from the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management recently got a firsthand look at cleanup progress being made at the Paducah Site in western Kentucky. The site is owned by the DOE, which is overseeing environmental cleanup activities there, including environmental remediation, waste management, depleted uranium conversion, and decontamination and decommissioning.

The visit by Dae Chung, associate principal deputy assistant secretary for corporate services, and other EM officials included stops at the C-400 cleaning building remediation project, the new Large Item Neutron Assay System (LINAS), and the C-333 process building deactivation.

Cleanup work: The deactivated C-400 building is the largest source of groundwater pollution at the site. LINAS will be used to scan and measure neutron particles emitted from any uranium deposits inside large equipment removed from the C-333 process building. C-333 is the first of four process buildings scheduled to undergo future demolition at Paducah. The officials viewed cell-housing demolition in the building in preparation for construction at the material sizing area.

The group also reviewed ongoing efforts to right-size operations for future work and received progress updates on key milestones from leadership with the Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) and Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP). FRNP is the DOEs deactivation and remediation contractor at Paducah.

“We appreciate the opportunity to showcase the efforts of our Paducah team,” said PPPO manager Joel Bradburne. “Observing unique projects such as the R-114 refrigerant disposal and LINAS provides a better perspective of where they fit into Paducah’s cleanup story.”

The site: In 1950, the Atomic Energy Commission, a predecessor agency to the DOE, selected a 3,556-acre tract of government-owned land near Paducah as the location to construct a second gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant to support U.S. national security needs. The Paducah plant enriched uranium from 1952 to 2013 and was the last government-owned uranium enrichment facility operating in the United States. The plant produced low-enriched uranium originally as feedstock for nuclear weapons materials and later for commercial nuclear power plants.

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