Cleanup Chief Visits Portsmouth, Paducah Sites

EM Assistant Secretary Dr. Monica Regalbuto recently visited EM’s Portsmouth and Paducah sites to review cleanup progress.Regalbuto and senior headquarters officials toured the former gaseous diffusion plants and the two depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion facilities, and met with federal and contractor personnel, management, and union representatives to talk about the safe cleanup.

Regalbuto said EM is committed to the continued effective, efficient cleanup at the two sites, and that field visits give her invaluable insights about conditions across the complex.

“At both the Portsmouth and Paducah sites, I enjoyed hearing insights from the highly skilled workers who are making measurable cleanup progress,” she said.  

Discussions with EM personnel and contractors largely focused on ensuring the right practices are in place to keep workers and the public safe.

On Jan. 27, Regalbuto toured the Portsmouth Site near Piketon in southern Ohio, including the future on-site waste disposal facility, X-326 former uranium enrichment process building currently undergoing preparations for demolition, and the X-333, which is slated to be the second process building to be demolished.

The next day and 400 miles away, Regalbuto’s group visited Portsmouth’s sister site near Paducah in western Kentucky. That stop included a look at ongoing groundwater remediation efforts and the new portable cell treatment system for removing material from the plant’s uranium enrichment process piping systems. The group also observed the efforts to remove polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), lube oil, and refrigerant. An important part of the tours detailed efforts to reduce maintenance costs to maximize taxpayer dollars that can be better spent on cleanup.

Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Acting Manager Robert Edwards said field managers are fortunate to have EM’s top leader take time to see cleanup work firsthand. He said one group with whom Regalbuto met at Portsmouth and Paducah — the EM facility representatives — has already seen good follow-up from headquarters on some of their ideas.

“She personally led the discussions, and we’re already seeing benefits from the interaction,” Edwards said.