2015 Year-in Review

“2015 has been a pivotal year at the Paducah Site. Now that we have successfully transitioned the gaseous diffusion plant from NRC oversight to DOE oversight and DOE has the entire site back for the first time in almost 20 years, major deactivation activities are under way to prepare the site for future decontamination and decommissioning. We are fortunate to have a highly skilled federal and contractor workforce in place to safely and successfully continue this vital cleanup project as we prepare for future site missions and community reuse of this asset.”

- Jennifer Woodard, Paducah Site Lead, DOE Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office

Key Accomplishments

  • Transitioned site cleanup to new deactivation contractor Fluor Federal Services. 
  • Completed the demolition of the C-410/C-420 UF6 Feed Plant, the largest building demolished to date out of a set of 32 inactive site facilities. 
  • Completed several projects to “right-size” site infrastructure to reduce costs. 
  • Continued an aggressive groundwater treatment program. 
  • Completed a key step needed to begin removing uranium deposits in 2016.

Looking Back

In 2015, major deactivation activities prepared the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant for future decontamination and decommissioning. Efforts to stabilize production and associated support facilities within the plant began. These tasks included the removal of R-114 refrigerant and lube oil from the process buildings, and facility modification to support the removal of uranium hold-up material from equipment in the large uranium enrichment process buildings.

The removal of these uranium deposits is key to making the buildings inherently safe and ready for demolition in the future. This will be accomplished using portable equipment specially designed and fabricated in 2015, to reduce risks to workers and costs by allowing most of the equipment to be decontaminated in place rather than having to remove it from the buildings prior to demolition.

As part of its ongoing environmental management and remediation efforts, the Paducah Site removed and disposed of waste, and demolished its largest building to date among the 32 inactive facilities already removed – the C-410/C- 420 UF6 Feed Plant. EM also continued its aggressive groundwater remediation program. Deep-soil mixing to remove trichloroethene (TCE) from the soil at a historic oil land-farm was completed in 2015, and steam treatability study fieldwork at the site’s largest TCE source was completed as well. 

“Right-Sizing” Site Infrastructure

EM continued to “right-size” the Paducah Site’s infrastructure this year to conserve energy and reduce utility costs. Four oversized and outdated electrical switchyards were consolidated into a single switchyard, improving the efficiency of the electricity distribution system that will result in cost savings over time. The site’s coal-fired steam plant was replaced with five new natural gas package boilers to save energy costs and provide environmental benefits. EM and its contractor, Fluor Federal Services, also replaced more than 52 of over 74 acres of roofs, reducing hazards and avoiding future costs of heating and piecemeal repairs, while improving worker safety.

Originaly published by the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Envionmental Management to read more click here.