Federal, state and local officials are praising the U.S. Department of Energy’s awarding a three-year $420 million clean-up contract to Fluor Federal Services, for decommissioning and decontamination of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
The DOE owned facility occupies 3,423-acres, and has been leased by the United States Enrichment Corporation, which enriched uranium for nuclear power plants. As the DOE’s lease with USEC expires, and the company continues reorganization under bankruptcy proceedings, community leaders have been hoping for a new source of jobs for the more than 1,000 employees affected by the shutdown.
“It means jobs for Paducah,” Paducah Mayor Gayle Kaler said last night. “It also provides extensive and detailed hiring preferences for the available labor force,” said Kaler referring to recently laid off USEC employees.
The DOE reports the contract will fund Project Management (including Delease Planning and Facility Transfer back to the DOE); Facility Modification and Infrastructure Optimization (including Stabilization and Deactivation of GDP Facilities); Decontamination and Demolition, and Environmental Services.
In a joint statement from city and county leaders expressed satisfaction for the contract and thanked Kentucky’s federal delegation in Congress but they maintain the project will take longer than three years.
“The clean-up of the site will require decades to accomplish and cost billions of dollars. This contract will be the vehicle to begin this important work,” the statement read.
Paducah Economic Development Vice President Charlie Martin said it's too early to tell when Fluor will begin hiring, and how many jobs are expected for the project.
"It's still early in the process and I'm sure we'll be getting more information in the days ahead about how exactly things are going to work," Martin said.
The future of the PGDP site beyond cleanup includes another enrichment facility. GE Hitachi’s Global Laser Enrichment, is seeking proper federal approval to construct an estimated $1-billion facility on the site in hopes of utilizing depleted uranium, so-called tails, stored on the site.