People in neon yellow safety jackets stand on top of an overlook area
Tour participants get a bird’s eye view of ongoing work at the Portsmouth Site’s On-Site Waste Disposal Facility.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – EM’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) sites in Portsmouth, Ohio, and Paducah, Kentucky, recently completed another successful public-tour season boosted by an influx of visitors from across the country.

This year, the PPPO sites hosted close to 300 people over a span of eight tours. Guests from Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin joined local community members for close-up views of the cleanup sites.

The public tours provide visitors a guided windshield journey and discussion of current EM cleanup activities, combined with a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the two plants.

“The Portsmouth and Paducah sites had a historical impact on the nation’s national security and with commercial utilities, so it’s great to see today’s far-reaching interest,” PPPO Manager Joel Bradburne said. “The opportunity to share EM’s cleanup progress along with the site’s history allows participants to imagine what the future may hold.”

The Paducah tour takes visitors to the historic C-300 Central Control Building and the C-333 Process Building. In the early 1950s, numerous officials from the Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor agency to DOE, and then-plant-operator, Union Carbide, had gathered at C-333 when the first equipment began enriching uranium.

Additionally, tour participants are able to see the depleted uranium hexafluoride facility that is converting over 60,000 cylinders of legacy material into a more stable chemical form that can be reused, stored or disposed of.

Tour highlights at Portsmouth include a stop to see remnants from the demolition of the X-326 Process Building that covered 56 acres under roof — the most significant cleanup milestone at the site to date — and a view of operations at the On-Site Waste Disposal Facility.

Both sites will host public tours in 2024. Register for the waiting list for the Paducah tour here, and click here for information on the Portsmouth tours.

-Contributors: Zachary Boyarski, Cindi Remy