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Amy Shumate pauses for a photograph with Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership Senior Community Relations Specialist and DOE community tour coordinator Steve Christmas before a recent tour.
Amy Shumate pauses for a photograph with Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership Senior Community Relations Specialist and DOE community tour coordinator Steve Christmas before a recent tour.
Contributed photo

PADUCAH, Ky.—When high school chemistry teacher Amy Shumate decided to make the 200-mile journey from Louisville to Paducah, it was not to take in ordinary tourist attractions.

“After studying nuclear chemistry with my students, I developed a fascination with the history of nuclear technology,” Shumate said.  “I’ve visited other (nuclear) sites across the country and decided I wanted to see something closer to home.”

Before operations ceased in 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) produced enriched uranium for over 60 years.  In 2014, deactivation of the uranium enrichment facilities began in coordination with the ongoing environmental remediation program at the site, which began in 1988.

Shumate has visited DOE’s Los Alamos, New Mexico; Hanford, Washington; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, sites.  She plans to incorporate what she learned about PGDP’s history into her chemistry lessons at Louisville Male Traditional High School.

“I learned so many fascinating things on this tour, from the site’s history to current cleanup efforts.  I would highly recommend this tour to anyone,” Shumate said.  

Interest in the Paducah site’s nuclear history has drawn approximately 1,850 people to tour the site to date.  This year, DOE will offer three community tour dates: April 4, May 16, and June 6.

“We are proud to welcome the community for the fifth year to learn about our history and the progress we are making in addressing the site’s environmental legacy,” said Jennifer Woodard, Paducah Site Lead for DOE's Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.

For more information and to register for a tour, go to https://fourriversnuclearpartnership.com/tours.

# DOE #