After meeting Monday with new U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Secretary Len Peters said he is hopeful for a good start on deactivation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant this year, with decontamination beginning in fiscal year 2015.
The United States Enrichment Corporation is in the shutdown process at the DOE-owned plant after failing to negotiate a new federal contract.
Peters traveled to Washington with Governor Steve Beshear to meet with Moniz and other DOE officials. Peters says the meeting was intended to express concern for the 1,100 workers at the site, and talk about further economic development opportunities that might involve the request for offers the DOE sent out for use of the Paducah facility.
“If you’ve ever been on that site you know they’re ideally located, they’re close to the Ohio River,” Peters said. “They are an ideal brownfield site for industrial use and (there are) a lot of potential economic development opportunities there.”
The Environmental Protection Agency defines a brownfield as a property the redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance or contaminant.
The site must be turned back over to the DOE before any progress can be made. Peters said he’d like to see that transition occur in the next 8-12 months.