Office of Environmental Management

Cleanup Advances as First Cold Trap Leaves Paducah Site

November 26, 2019

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Damon Cates applies labels on a shipping container in preparation for the first cold trap leaving the EM Paducah Site.
Damon Cates applies labels on a shipping container in preparation for the first cold trap leaving the EM Paducah Site.

PADUCAH, Ky. –Workers recently made progress in the deactivation and remediation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) when they prepared and shipped the first of 22 cold traps stored at EM’s Paducah Site

During PGDP’s uranium-enrichment years, cold traps supported various processes, including activities at the C-410 Feed Plant. That five-acre facility produced uranium hexafluoride (UF6). These cold traps are long, cylindrical heat exchangers that were used in C-410 to convert UF6 gas to a solid that was later liquefied, transferred to cylinders, and ultimately fed through pipes into a system of process gas equipment where enrichment occurred.

Cold traps at the PGDP range in size and can weigh as much as 16,000 pounds, about four times the weight of an automobile. Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP), EM’s deactivation and remediation contractor for the Paducah Site, led efforts to ship the first cold trap off-site for disposal. This cold trap weighed approximately 15,000 pounds. It was packaged and shipped intact, rather than being sheared and downsized. Shipping the cold trap intact provided additional safeguards to workers by reducing the risk of exposure to hazardous materials.

Workers secure a container to ship the first cold trap from the EM Paducah Site.
Workers secure a container to ship the first cold trap from the EM Paducah Site.

“We advance the cleanup at the Paducah Site one step at a time. The removal of this first cold trap is a step forward,” said Paducah Site Lead Jennifer Woodard, of EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.

Myrna Redfield, president, CEO and program manager of FRNP, said a significant amount of work and planning went into preparing the cold trap for the inaugural off-site shipment.

“Our team worked many hours to ensure the work was accomplished without compromising the safety or health of our workers, the public, or the environment,” Redfield said. “This was a major accomplishment for our team.”

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