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Audit Report: IG-0642

March 18, 2004

Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride Conversion

For over 30 years, the Department of Energy (Department) operated geous diffusion plans in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Portsmouth, Ohio; and Paducah, Kentucky, to meet its enriched uranium needs. As a byproduct of the enrichment process, about 704,000 metric tons of depleted uranium hexafluoride were generated and stored in approximately 58,00 cylinders at the enrichment plants. While the cylinders are currently stored with little risk to workers, the public, and the environment, they are gradually deteriorating. Prolonged storage has the potential to increase the Department's safety and health risks from handling operations, natural disasters, or malicious acts.