Paducah's Republican/Democrat Want to End State Moratorium on Nuclear Power

Nov 25, 2015

Sen. Carroll (left) and Rep. Watkins (right)
Credit LRC Public Information

Both of Paducah’s state legislators are working on bills to lift Kentucky’s nuclear moratorium this upcoming legislative session.  

Republican State Sen. Danny Carroll says he’s working on a measure lifting the ban on construction of nuclear reactors within the state.  

A bill to eliminating the ban passed the Senate last session but stalled in the House.  

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is currently in clean-up procedures after the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) ceased uranium enrichment two years ago.  

Clean up crews at PGDP
Credit Dylan Nichols / LATA Kentucky

Carroll says the construction of a modular reactor at the site would help recoup some of the more than 1,000 jobs lost in the 2013 shutdown.

“We do have a lot of jobs as far as clean up goes, but the reality of that is those jobs will go away at some point so it’s important for us to start building towards the future," said Carroll. 

Carroll says he would like to see the move restore credibility to Paducah’s former nickname. 

“Paducah has always been known as 'The Atomic City' since USEC was first built during the Cold War, and if we’re able to bring in the small modular reactors we just hope that there’s business that comes along with that, allows us to retain good paying jobs for the folks in this region," said Carroll. 

3rd District Democratic Rep. Gerald Watkins is drafting a similar bill for the House

Kentucky currently has no nuclear reactors.  After the PGDP’s closure, the only other facility to handle radioactive material is the waste disposal site in Maxey Flats.  

The 2016 legislative session begins January 5th.