As the end of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant’s TVA utility contract nears, the plant’s operators are still searching for ways to keep the plant open for the foreseeable future. The plant’s current TVA contract expires at the end of May. United States Enrichment Corporation officials are negotiating new terms to provide a better market for their services and allow them to continue operations. USEC's Paducah Plant Spokesperson Georgann Lookofsky says the new contract is just one of several problems they need to solve to keep the plant running. She says,
“We’re looking at a three facet effort here: we need affordable power, we need some additional work like tails re-enrichment, and we need to be able to sell some portion of the output of the plant into a soft market.”
Lookofsky says the soft market is partially due to the problems from last year's earthquake in Japan and subsequent nuclear plant issues. The re-enrichment question she says, remains with the federal government. Lookofsky says even if the 1,200 employee plant does have to shut down, it wouldn’t be an overnight process, so workers would have time to make other work plans.