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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is looking at options to dispose of waste that will be generated from further cleanup of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. Cleanup of the Site is projected to create an estimated 3.6 million cubic yards of demolition debris, metals, soils, asbestos and other material. DOE is using the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act of 1980 (CERCLA) process to make a decision on disposition of this waste. This decision process involves input from the community, along with reviews by Kentucky and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Waste generation from Site cleanup is projected to include 44% soils, 22% concrete, 20% scrap metal, 12% construction debris, 1% other dry solids, and 1% asbestos.
Waste Disposal Alternatives
The Remedial Investigation/Feasibility Study (RI/FS) Report includes the evaluation of waste disposal alternatives as part of the CERCLA process. Each alternative assumes some waste will continue to be shipped off-site for disposal and waste that is acceptable for disposal in the current on-site industrial landfill will be disposed of there.
The CERCLA waste disposal alternatives evaluated:
Alternative 1 - No Action
- Requires no changes to current waste disposal practices
- Continue the existing process to evaluate and dispose of waste on a project-by-project basis
Alternative 2 - Off-Site Disposal
- Make a sitewide decision to ship waste to a DOE approved, licensed facility (there are currently licensed facilities available for off-site disposal in Utah, Nevada, and Texas
- Considerations including transportation risks, state regulations and restrictions, economic and environmental impact, and future use of the site after cleanup.
Alternative 3 - On-site Disposal
- Build a new CERCLA waste disposal facility on the Paducah site
- This Alternative evaluates on-site disposal locations considered adequate for construction of a CERCLA waste disposal facility
- Several factors are considered including state regulations/restrictions, economic and environmental impact, seismic issues, and future use of the site after cleanup
On-site locations: 12 sites were proposed and 5 candidate sites selected for further evaluation.