Paducah (USA)

Map of Paducah

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Gaseous Diffusion Plant for enrichment, owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, leased and operated by the United States Enrichment Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of USEC Inc.

operation started in 1952 for enriching uranium for nuclear weapons, since the 1960ies fuel for commercial npps is produced; today Paducah is the only enrichment facility in the USA

Facilities in Paducah

plantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
PaducahEnrichment Facility19511952

Workers at the Paducah enrichment facility were contaminated with plutonium and other isotopes from used uranium from military nuclear reactor fuel. These contaminations happened from 1953 until 1976 but were not brought to light until today. Thomas Cochran from NRDC stated that " and safety practices there were the worst outside the former Soviet Union."
The Washington Post stated that radioactive contamination was also found in the surroundings of the plant, that a not licenced landfill has been used for dumping hazardous waste, and that radioactively contaminated gold and other metals have been shipped out of the plant without testing.



"At 1217 CST, on 01-30-09 the Plant Shift Superintendent (PSS) was notified that C-310 (product withdrawal facility) had lost power due to an electrical fault. As a result of the power loss, the C-310 High Voltage Process Gas Leak Detection (PGLD) System was rendered inoperable. This PGLD System contains detectors that cover the C-310 UF6 condensers, accumulators, and piping heated housing. At the time of this loss of power, these areas were operating above atmospheric pressure. TSR requires that all of detector heads in this system be operable during operations above atmospheric pressure. Power was restored to this PGLD System at 1240 hours, which is within the one hour required by TSR LCO to enter a continuous smoke watch. This event is reportable as a 24 hour event in accordance with 10CFR 76.120(c)(2)(i). This is an event in which equipment is disabled or fails to function as designed when: a.) the equipment is required by a TSR to prevent releases, prevent exposures to radiation and radioactive materials exceeding specified limits, mitigate the consequences of an accident, or restore this facility to a pre-established safe condition after an accident; b.) the equipment is required by a TSR to be available and operable and either should have been operating or should have operated on demand, and c.) no redundant equipment is available and operable to perform the required safety function. Once the source of the fault was identified, power was restored to the C-310 the High Voltage PGLD System and the system was tested.

"Power was restored at 1240 hours and the system was tested at 1258 hours. The NRC Senior Resident Inspector has been notified of this event."