Past uranium enrichment operations and support activities generated hazardous, radioactive, mixed (both hazardous and radioactive), and non-chemical (sanitary) waste. Past operations also resulted in soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination. Environmental investigations have been conducted since the 1980s to understand the extent of contamination.

Following environmental investigations of the entire site, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List (NPL) in 1994. Sites on the NPL must be cleaned up in accordance with the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA). CERCLA is a United States federal law designed to identify, investigate and cleanup hazardous wastes sites that may pose a threat to human health or the environment.

In accordance with CERCLA, DOE worked with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Commonwealth of Kentucky, Department for Environmental Protection (KDEP) to establish the Federal Facility Agreement (FFA). The FFA established the framework for cleanup at Paducah, instituted enforceable milestones, and coordinated site-specific cleanup requirements for achieving comprehensive site cleanup, including stakeholder involvement under CERCLA and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Cleanup/Oversight Responsibilities

DOE is the lead agency responsible for investigation and cleanup of the PGDP site, with oversight provided by EPA and KDEP.

The annual PGDP Site Management Plan outlines DOE’s strategic approach for achieving cleanup under the FFA. The Paducah Community Relations Plan describes how DOE will provide opportunities for the public to become involved in FFA-related decisions at the PGDP.  The Plan outlines how the parties to the agreement will coordinate public participation prescribed by the FFA.

The Federal Facility Agreement directs the comprehensive remediation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP). It contains requirements for: (1) implementing investigations of known or potential releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants, or hazardous wastes or hazardous constituents, (2) selection and implementation of appropriate remedial and removal actions, and (3) establishing priorities for action and development of schedules, consistent with the established priorities, goals and objectives of this Agreement.