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The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been enriching uranium since 1952, making it the world’s oldest such facility.  Now, in 2013, it faces an uncertain future.  New technology and a depressed market for their product have led the U.S. Department of Energy to consider closing the facility when USEC’s lease on the site expires next month.  This threatens some 1,200 jobs in McCracken County.  But, there are glimmers of hope. / International Isotopes, Inc.

An Idaho-based company, along with Advanced Process Technology Systems of Paducah, has expressed interest in taking over operations of the U.S. Department of Energy's Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant if current lessee, the United States Enrichment Corporation, is unable to extend operations past next month.

USEC Still Undecided On PGDP Future

Apr 2, 2013

Workers at Paducah's Gaseous Diffusion Plant will remain employed for at least the next 60 days as United States Enrichment Corporation officials continue discussions regarding future operations. USEC Spokesperson Paul Jacobson says the company has not yet decided on what kind of workforce it will leave behind. The plant currently employs around 1100 people.

U.S. Congress

Republican Kentucky Congressman Ed Whitfield (KY-01) visited WKMS this week to discuss many of his ongoing projects. You can hear the full interview above, or see a brief summary of topics below.

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Department of Energy

The United States Enrichment Corporation and several other companies have sent proposals to the Department of Energy to continue enriching uranium at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. USEC is currently operating at the plant but is scheduled to end its work there May 31. USEC spokesperson Paul Jacobson says the corporation is discussing a several month extension at the plant, but that doesn’t change its statement that the high costs and old technology makes continuing commercial endeavors beyond 2013 difficult.

GE-Hitachi may be one of other possible companies vying to operate the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant if current operations at the plant cease. The United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) employs around 1,000 workers and currently leases the 3,500 acre uranium enrichment operation. USEC’s operations are set to end in May.

The U.S. Department of Energy is seeking proposals from companies for the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to try to cut costs while preserving some or all of the 1,200 jobs at the the uranium enrichment site.

An emailed release from the DOE details a formal request for proposals from companies that want to lease or purchase the facility for commercial purposes.

USEC Worker Helps Save Paducah Jobs

Dec 4, 2012

Funds from the Kentucky Department of Energy and Environment will help pay for a United States Enrichment Corporation employee who will work with Paducah Economic Development officials to help save jobs at the city’s gaseous diffusion plant.  The McCracken County Fiscal Court voted last night to accept the $75,000 to pay travel and other expenses over the next year for USEC employee Charlie Martin.  McCracken County Judge-Executive Van Newberry says USEC will continue to pay Martin’s salary while he researches ways to keep local people working at the plant.


The Department of Energy recently hosted a two day workshop  in Paducah to meet with a variety of regional and global company leaders on the prospects of reindustrializing the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant. The DOE owns the PGPD and leases it to companies.

Currently, the United States Enrichment Corporation or USEC leases the facility to re-enrich uranium for power plants with the help of 1,200 employees. USEC’s operations are scheduled to end in May 2013.

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.”