The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been enriching uranium since 1952, making it the world’s oldest such facility. Now, in 2013, it faces an uncertain future. New technology and a depressed market for their product have led the U.S. Department of Energy to consider closing the facility when USEC’s lease on the site expires next month. This threatens some 1,200 jobs in McCracken County. But, there are glimmers of hope.
A GE-Hitachi subsidiary has informed the DOE that they are considering the Paducah site, and last week, International Isotopes, Incorporated and Advanced Process Technology Systems, LLC of Paducah, announced they’re forming a new joint venture to respond to the Energy Department’s request for Expressions of Interest, or EOIs, in Paducah operations. Steve Laflin is CEO of the Idaho-based International Isotopes, and he spoke with Todd Hatton about what this joint venture could mean for the PGDP’s future.