Cleaning up Paducah's uranium enrichment plant (Part Four)

Apr 29, 2010

Paducah, KY – It's been 60 years since the Atomic Energy Commission announced Paducah would become the site of the Nation's second uranium enrichment plant. Today, in the fourth of this week's five part series, Paducah Remediation Services Communication Manager Joe Tarentino explores opportunities made available to the Department of Energy's stakeholders that provide for public involvement in the cleanup process. A stakeholder is a person or organization that has a "stake" in something.

Stakeholders are connected to an issue either because they are interested in it or because they are involved in some way. DOE is a stakeholder in environmental cleanup activities because it is the owner of the site and is responsible for site cleanup. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kentucky Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet (EPPC) are stakeholders in cleanup because these agencies provide oversight to DOE on its cleanup program.

Residents, community leaders, citizens, and groups are also stakeholders as each may have an interest in the outcome of the environmental cleanup activities at the site.

The Department of Energy believes stakeholders have the right to provide input regarding decisions related to cleanup activities at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. DOE policy states that the public is entitled to play a role in department decision making and requires its managers to conduct environmental cleanup projects in an open, responsive, and accountable manner.

The Paducah Community Relations Plan describes how DOE will provide opportunities for public involvement in FFA related decisions at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant and outlines how the parties to the agreement will coordinate public participation prescribed by the FFA. This plan is located at the DOE Environmental Information Center, 115 Memorial Drive, across U.S. 62 from West Kentucky Community and Technical College.

On the local level, the Paducah Community Relations Plan is designed to create interactive communications to give the public the opportunity to provide input to DOE, the US Environmental Protection Agency, and the Commonwealth of Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.

The DOE Paducah Site maintains regular communications with interested stakeholders in a variety of ways. The two most visible are through the Citizens Advisory Board and by attending advertised public meetings.

The Paducah Citizens Advisory Board is a community stakeholder group formed specifically to provide technical recommendations to DOE's cleanup effort. Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month and are open to the general public. The CAB maintains a website a that provides information distributed at meetings.

A second method to inform the public is through public meetings. Public meetings may be of a general nature, such as the one held in November 2008 that touched on DOE's cleanup accomplishments and discussed the next phase of the cleanup effort, or they may introduce a specific project, as with our March 2009 meeting that focused on waste disposal decisions needing to be made in order to begin planning for future efforts.

All public meetings are advertised through local media outlets.

As DOE begins future planning for long term cleanup efforts at the site, periodic public meetings will be held to keep stakeholders informed of progress.