Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler on PGDP Cleanup Funding, Future of Site

Dec 29, 2015

Mayor Gayle Kaler

The omnibus spending bill approved by Congress earlier this month included $200 million for continued deactivation and cleanup at the site of the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler says local leaders are already working on securing funding for the next budget cycle.

“It’ll be 20-30 years before that entire site is cleaned up, so we have to continually go to Washington," Kaler said. "We have to continually ask for those dollars.”

There are currently around 1,600 workers employed in the decontamination work at the former uranium enrichment plant, most of them with Fluor Federal Services. The U.S. Department of Energy awarded Fluor a 3-year, $420 million contract last summer. Kaler said there have been talks about renewing that contract, rather than rebidding the work.

Meanwhile, Kaler said she supports state Rep. Gerald Watkins’ legislation that would end Kentucky’s nuclear power facility moratorium for sites within 50 miles of former nuclear product manufacturers - a possible boon for Paducah. Kaler said other industries are not going to be attracted to the PGDP site.

“Say for instance, you’re not going to get a Ford Motor Company to go out there and build a manufacturing plant, so it’s got to be a nuclear friendly industry," Kaler said.

Watkins' bill will be considered when the General Assembly convenes next month.