Representatives advise PACRO about PGDP future

Representatives who specialize in sites like the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant presented their ideas to the Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization, or PACRO on Tuesday.

You may remember USEC released its ownership of the PGDP plant in October. 

Under the Department of Energy’s control, the Fluor Corporation began the deactivation and decontamination process at the site. 

The goal of the meeting was to assess what future the plant could hold in Paducah after the deactivation process, and making these decisions now could be the key to jobs in the future.

Seth Kirshenberg is the Executive Director of the Energy Communities Alliance. He says he thinks now is the a great time to take advantage of the plant’s transition. Kirshenberg specializes in sites like the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. He and two other representatives were invited and flew in on their own time and money to advise the local board.

Kirshenberg knows many communities fear an initial job loss, “You do have some potential downsizing in sight but then you have new opportunities coming in.”

But he says the during the plant’s deactivation period is the perfect time to make decisions for the plant’s future, “You want to look at other opportunities to develop new businesses that will work in Western Kentucky.”

Important because Paducah Economic Development Vice President, Charlie Martin says they have to organize plans in order to secure future government funds, “That’s what we encourage them to do, come up with an additional scope of work to expend the dollars.”

Martin says if the plans go undecided, funds for cleanup could sit idle and create greater problems, making it more difficult to secure future money, “If its not spent we don’t create the jobs spending the money would create and we don’t get the cleanup that spending the dollars would create.”

But the key is to formulate and execute the plan first. There are close to 1,300 workers at the plant right now, with an additional 700 workers out of a job. This does exclude contractors. 

Martin says for 2015, there are close to $370 million to spend to help secure those future jobs.

In the meeting they established the Paducah site’s strength- the land, technology, and people out at the site. A lot of the ideas were centered around complementing these strengths but all preliminary ideas.

Department of Energy officials estimate full cleanup of the site will take anywhere from 15-20 years.

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