PADUCAH, Ky. – The Atomic Energy Workers Council (AEWC) recently toured EM’s Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant to learn about the depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) conversion process, plant deactivation, and environmental projects.
The council consists of presidents and vice presidents from all United Steel Workers (USW) local unions that have contracts with DOE across the nation.
“The council was created in the early 1980s with a mission to better understand the challenges at each participating council site,” said Jim H. Key, AEWC president and USW Paducah Local 550 vice president at large.
The EM Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office’s (PPPO) deactivation work includes preparing the C-400 Cleaning Building for demolition. C-400 is historically the most significant contributor to the site’s groundwater contamination.
The visitors toured the gaseous diffusion plant and DUF6 conversion facilities, where the byproduct of decades of uranium enrichment is converted into more stable chemical forms for beneficial reuse or disposal.
“It was good for the council to tour the site to see the challenges and opportunities EM and the workforce face in cleaning up the Paducah Site safely,” said Jennifer Woodard, PPPO’s Paducah Site lead. “It also provided an opportunity for the council to learn about the DUF6 conversion process, which only occurs at the Paducah and Portsmouth sites.”
Locations represented by the AEWC include Paducah; Portsmouth, Ohio; Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Irwin, Tennessee; Hanford, Washington; Carlsbad, New Mexico; and Idaho Falls, Idaho.