9:41am

Wed May 16, 2012
Environmental Watchdog

Paducah Uranium Plant to Remain Open

Key agreements with the federal government and energy suppliers will allow the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to stay open for another year. The plant processes uranium for use in nuclear power plants. Under the new agreement, the plant has federal approval to re-enrich depleted uranium for the Tennessee Valley Authority and Energy Northwest. The United States Enrichment Corporation, the plant’s operator, previously said allowing re-enrichment at the plant was necessary to turn a profit.

The plant’s continued operation was also contingent on a new power contract, which the company secured. The previous contract was scheduled to end at the end of this month.

1,200 people are employed at the Paducah plant, and the agreement will keep the facility open for one more year.

State leaders were exuberant at the news, but warned that a transition plan is necessary.

“I am pleased the various parties have come together,” District 1 Congressman Ed Whitfield said in a statement. “But there is more to be done. We must continue to work together to ensure a viable transition plan is developed as this plant faces eventual closing.”

“The extension means our hard-working families will have an additional year of employment, and the community will have additional time to determine next steps,” said Governor Steve Beshear.