DOE renews Portsmouth grant to Ohio University

October 7, 2022, 7:03AMANS Nuclear Cafe
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant. (Photo: DOE)

The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has renewed a $2.5 million grant to Ohio University to support community redevelopment around the DOE’s Portsmouth Site. Since 2016, the DOE has provided a total of $8.2 million to the university for work with the communities.

The DOE grant, which began on October 1, will be administered over five years through September 30, 2027. A previous grant expired on September 30.

History: In August 1952, the Atomic Energy Commission, a predecessor agency to the DOE, selected a tract of land in the Ohio Valley for the site of the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the third of three such plants in the United States. The two other plants were the K-25 Complex at Oak Ridge, Tenn., and the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Ky.

In 1956, the Portsmouth plant began enriching uranium for national security purposes. In the 1960s, Portsmouth’s mission changed focus to production of fuel for commercial nuclear power plants and other national security applications.

An environmental cleanup program began at the 3,777-acre site in 1989, and deactivation and decommissioning activities started.

Grant use: The grant provides public outreach support to continue stakeholder interactions, focusing on site. In addition, Ohio University will continue development of recommended solutions to energy and environmental challenges found in the southeastern Ohio area affected by cleanup of the site.

“Ohio University is an outstanding asset for DOE and the communities surrounding the Portsmouth site,” said Joel Bradburne, Portsmouth Paducah Project office manager. “After developing an independent, community-driven roadmap for the site, they remain committed to providing expertise and continuity that is preparing the site for a future use.”

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