Paducah Economic Development Council president Chad Chancellor says officials need to start thinking about alternative future uses for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
Chancellor's comments come on the heels of First District Congressman Ed Whitfield's comment that nuclear fuel refining operations are on their “last leg.”
Plant officials reached a multi-party agreement in May to extend operations on year. Whifield says he’s eager for new ideas to keep the plant’s 12-hundred employees in a job. Chancellor says he is still hopeful current operations hold out. But he said Whitfield’s comments are a “wise move.”
“Certainly our number one priority would be to keep USEC there and going as long as they can. But we want to be prepared for when the day comes that USEC goes away to redevelop it with other industries," he said.
The PEDC joined the redevelopment team this summer. Chancellor said the council is working with the Department of Energy and a contractor to assess the plant's land use potential because PGDP uses only 800 of the site’s 3,000 acres.
“We think there are some parcels that have never had anything on it, that have never been contaminated that we might could land industries on. So, right now we are taking an inventory of the sight, understanding its power capabilities, and water and sewer and other infrastructure capabilities," said Chancellor.
Chancellor added the council owns a thousand acres adjacent to the plant site, and future development could work in tandem.
DOE held a workshop this week in Paducah with businesses and organizations to gather ideas for future site uses. Chancellor sat in on some of the talks. He said four companies showed sincere interest in redeveloping the plant site.