New Equipment Sets Stage for Future Deactivation at Paducah Site

After months of training, field demonstrations and operational drills, workers at EM’s Paducah Site have demonstrated the safe and compliant operation of new equipment to compact components — each roughly the size of a 15-passenger van — as part of upcoming deactivation work for a massive uranium-enrichment process building slated for demolition.

Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP), the Paducah Site deactivation and remediation contractor, led the efforts during a recent contractor readiness review of the new equipment and its processes.

“Integration between the various organizations within our team was critical to our success. This included valuable input provided by our United Steelworkers team members for the installation and safe operation of the equipment,” FRNP Program Manager Myrna Redfield said.

With nearly 160 tons of crushing force, enough to compact six mid-sized cars, the hydraulic compacter is located at the site’s newly constructed bundle compaction area at the C-720 maintenance facility.

The C-333 Process Building contains nearly 500 large components. Once declared operational, workers will use the Material Sizing Area located in the C-333 building to segment the converters and remove their contents, also known as “bundles,” before transporting them to the maintenance facility for compaction. Bundles will be compacted for onsite storage and possible recycling.

"The workforce has really embraced this project," FRNP Project Manager Michele Murphy said. "It's been a great experience getting us this far."

Similar to EM’s Portsmouth Site in Ohio, Paducah has four process buildings previously used to enrich uranium. With Portsmouth approximately 10 years ahead of Paducah in its cleanup mission, the workers there have provided lessons learned and advice that allows Paducah to enhance and advance its process.

“This project is an example of how the One PPPO synergy is sharing knowledge to provide the safest work environment as well as delivering increased efficiency to the project and a better value to the taxpayer,” EM Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO) Manager Joel Bradburne said.

Paducah is set to segment its first converter and reduce its first bundle later this year.