PIKETON, Ohio – Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently toured EM’s Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant Site and received updates on deactivation and decommissioning (D&D) of the uranium enrichment process buildings.
During his visit, Secretary Perry emphasized the importance of continuing the site’s D&D project expeditiously and safely. He noted the site’s role in making the U.S. essential to the world’s energy needs and security, and expressed appreciation for its generations of dedicated workers.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and U.S. Reps. Bill Johnson and Brad Wenstrup of Ohio accompanied Secretary Perry on the tour and met with plant officials and workers.
“I was proud to show Secretary Perry the top-notch infrastructure and highly-skilled workforce at Piketon’s biggest employer, the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant,” Portman said. “For decades, the workers here provided our military and our energy sector with critical natural resources, including enriched uranium for our country’s nuclear defense system. It now employs nearly 2,000 Ohioans through the cleanup effort, which, when finished, will provide the infrastructure and resources to employ thousands more.”
EM Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) Manager Robert Edwards emphasized the significance of Secretary Perry’s visit to the site.
“Secretary Perry’s visit with the Ohio congressional delegation is evidence of the administration’s commitment to ensuring cleanup of the Portsmouth site.” Roberts said.
The tour group, which included Acting EM Assistant Secretary Jim Owendoff, visited the X-326 process building. Workers have removed most process gas equipment from that facility — the first of three process buildings to undergo deactivation to prepare for demolition.
The group observed work in the X-333 process building, where EM and cleanup contractor Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth are preparing to remove large equipment. They discussed how some high-tech equipment and techniques will help dismantle and analyze equipment for contamination to determine appropriate disposition.
“We appreciate the Secretary‘s positive statements after seeing the tremendous progress our workforce has made at the Portsmouth Site,” said Joel Bradburne, Portsmouth Site Lead for PPPO.