“The Paducah plant was constructed in the early 1950s, so aging facilities need to be addressed from time to time,” Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) Manager Robert Edwards said. “Even though there’s no more uranium enrichment at Paducah, we have approximately 1,200 people who need a safe working environment.”
Swift & Staley, Inc. (SSI), PPPO’s small-business prime contractor responsible for infrastructure support services, recently completed a number of projects to enhance the site’s safe operational environment, including railroad repairs, installation of security fencing, and resurfacing of parking lots and sidewalks.
Crews replaced more than 2,200 railroad ties, more than 100 switch ties, and multiple sections of worn or damaged tracks to ensure rail integrity and availability. Major site missions, including deactivation and remediation, and conversion of depleted uranium hexafluoride (DUF6) rely heavily on rail to transport materials.
The site’s size — it’s situated on approximately 3,500 acres — and rural location bordering a state wildlife management area require more than 6 miles of security fencing. SSI installed new fencing to delineate the site boundary, along with fence flags and signs to enhance safety for wildlife and the public.
Continuing its focus on sustainability, PPPO authorized replacement of its site-office roof with an energy efficient roofing system. SSI replaced the building’s aging heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning units, and installed safe walking surfaces for maintenance workers.
To further prevent slips, trips, and falls, SSI worked with other site contractors to identify and replace several sidewalks and other uneven surface areas. They addressed broken concrete, raised and depressed areas caused by ground movement, and other similar concerns. Parking lots with deteriorated pavement were milled, repaved, and restriped. Repaving increased useable space and allowed closure of less-safe gravel lots. Handicap parking, pedestrian crosswalks, and signage were brought up to current requirements.
Project Manager Tammy Courtney said SSI works projects like these while maintaining core infrastructure support services and safety standards.
“We conducted this work while maintaining our primary focus of safety,” she said, adding that the local company achieved 1 million hours without a lost-work-time injury in September.
Multiple additional projects are underway, including construction of a new security and badging office, access-control system, and firing range for the site protective force, Courtney said.