USEC lays off dozens of security personnel

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Reporter - Mychaela Bruner
Photographer - Jason Thomasson

MCCRACKEN COUNTY, Ky—Another round of layoffs for USEC workers, this time involving dozens of security workers.  Forty-four security workers are out of a job at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

Today, USEC shut down one of the main security checkpoints on the plant access road as a result.  The layoffs are part of a larger round that involved 110 workers.  Security workers got their first warning they would be impacted two months ago.

USEC security worker Ryan Brown told Local 6 it was their job on a daily basis to do a 100 percent inspection of everyone who came inside the plant.  Brown said he understands the layoffs, but disagrees with the decision to leave one of the main security checkpoints unmanned.

Brown said, "We did expect there were going to be reductions in our department, unfortunately, the reductions turned out to be deeper than what we thought."

He claims the reductions result in an unmanned security checkpoint on the plant access road.

"There's nothing now stopping anybody wanting to make it all the way into the fence," said Brown.

USEC Public Affairs Manager Georgann Lookofsky said even with the layoffs, there is still security.

"This is still an extremely secure site. We continue to have around the clock security protection in place, many security controls are not visible to someone who walks up on the site," said Lookofsky.

Brown said that security is not enough.

"We don't just protect the interests that are out here, we also protect the employees and the surrounding community. There's a reason why they came up with the jobs we had to do and there's a reason why the boundaries are set like they were," said Brown.

Boundaries once marked by signs are now gone.

"If anyone has a concern over the level of security at this facility, now's the time to start writing letters, make your voices heard," said Brown.

Security checkpoints at the fence perimeter will continue to be manned.  These layoffs are part of the overall transition that is underway at USEC that dates back to May of last year when USEC announced it would stop enriching uranium.

Lookofsky said it was necessary to have high levels of security when USEC was enriching uranium, but now they are shifting to a mode that more closely matches other DOE facilities.

The security department could be targeted again in two months for layoffs.

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