Paducah Site Clears Area to Investigate the C-400 Complex

Prior to the current COVID-19 restrictions, workers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Paducah Site removed above-ground equipment, pipelines, ventilation stacks, and other infrastructure previously located on the east and west sides of the C-400 Cleaning Building.  The work was done to prepare the facility for future demolition as well as to support the planned environmental remedial investigation to be conducted at the C-400 Complex. 

The C-400 Cleaning Building operated from 1952 until 2014.  Trichloroethylene (TCE), a once-commonly used degreasing solvent used to clean parts and equipment in the C-400 Cleaning Building as well as in private industry, is the primary contaminant found in groundwater at the site.  The facility contained equipment for cleaning/degreasing large enrichment process parts and housed equipment testing and maintenance teardown areas.  Plant laundry was also housed in the facility. The C-400 Complex which includes the C-400 Building covers approximately 350,000 square feet, nearly 8 acres.   

The removal of the above-ground equipment, pipelines, ventilation stacks, and other infrastructure allows DOE to investigate the entire C-400 Complex which will lead to a remediation plan to clean up the entire C-400 Complex, DOE’s highest cleanup priority at the Paducah Site.  The C-400 Complex is the primary source of groundwater contamination caused by TCE and technetium-99. 

“We have been successful in reducing the concentration of TCE at C-400 Complex based on past actions.  We now have the opportunity to better define the contamination around and under the building and develop a cleanup plan for the entire C-400 Complex,” said Jennifer Woodard, Paducah Site Lead for DOE's Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office.  

Four Rivers Nuclear Partnership (FRNP), DOE’s deactivation and remediation contractor, also removed the northwest and southwest ventilation stacks, which were 135 feet tall, from the west side of the C-400 Building.  FRNP previously removed a treatment system on the east side of the building that was used to extract TCE in 2010 and 2014. 

“Our team took every precaution to ensure that this project was completed safely, compliantly, and timely,” said FRNP Program Manager Myrna Redfield.  “As a result, the site was able to begin important remedial investigation fieldwork three months ahead of its regulatory due date.”