Stage of Clean-up: Construction Underway
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PGDP) is a URANIUM+ enrichment facility covering approximately 1,350 acres in western McCracken County approximately 10 miles west of Paducah, Kentucky, and about 3 miles south of the Ohio River. PGDP began operating in 1952 and is owned and operated by the U.S. Department of Energy (USDOE). The facility is currently managed by Martin Marietta Energy Systems, Inc. Approximately 740 acres of the plant are located within a fenced security area. An uninhabited buffer zone surrounds the fenced area. Beyond the USDOE-owned buffer zone is an extensive wildlife management area of 2,100 acres deeded or leased to the Commonwealth of Kentucky. PGDP performs the first step in the URANIUM+ enrichment process, enriching uranium-235 (U-235) in a physical separation process. The separation process is based on the faster rate at which U-235 diffuses through a barrier, in comparison with the heavier uranium-238 (U-238). Subsequent to processing at PGDP, the URANIUM+ is further enriched at another USDOE gaseous diffusion plant. More...