PIKE COUNTY, Ohio – EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White recently joined elected officials, local stakeholders and nearly 2,000 employees at the Portsmouth Site to celebrate the gaseous diffusion plant’s 70th anniversary.
White commemorated the occasion by honoring the important work of the past, paying tribute to employees carrying out the site’s mission for safe cleanup, and looking forward to the future reuse of the site.
“We are here today to celebrate a key step to ensuring a bright future for the site and the communities around it. We’re completing a second major land transfer totaling 200 acres. This is in addition to the 80-acre parcel in 2018,“ said White. ”By successfully cleaning up and returning land to the local community, we’re working to ensure the site can continue to play the same strong role it did for 70 years for the next 70 years.”
Construction of the plant began on Nov. 18, 1952. It was one of three such facilities in the U.S. capable of enriching uranium for defense and energy needs during the Cold War and beyond. Enrichment operations at the Portsmouth Site ended in 2001. The facilities are being safely decommissioned and removed for final cleanup and turnover to the community for reuse.
Earlier this year, crews marked the most significant cleanup milestone at the site when they completed structural demolition of the X-326 process building, the first of three massive site structures.
Sen. Rob Portman, who first became involved with the site as a congressman in 2001, reflected on the importance of the cleanup.
“I’m proud of the progress you have made. I know this is hard work but it’s really important work, and it’s important we get it cleaned up and cleaned up safely, particularly for the community,” said Portman. “The community needs to know this is being done in a safe way for the long term and I’m proud of the technology and all the work that went into ensuring that would happen.”
In addition to White and Portman, Rep. Brad Wenstrup, Ellen Smith with Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office, Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office Manager Joel Bradburne, and Portsmouth Site Lead Jeremy Davis also participated in the celebration and reflected on the 70 years of success at the site.
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