Environment News Service

AmeriScan: September 28, 1999

ENERGY DEPARTMENT SEEKS INFORMATION FROM PADUCAH PLANT WORKERS

PADUCAH, Kentucky, September 28, 1999 (ENS) - A U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) investigation team is seeking information from current and former employees of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky as a part of its probe of environment, safety and health issues at the plant. The facility manufactures nuclear fuel for power generators across the country. A preliminary investigation discovered problems with safety programs intended to protect plant workers from radiation exposure. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson launched the investigation in August after the "Washington Post" published reports that thousands of workers had been exposed to dangerous levels of radiation from plutonium and other radioactive materials.

During a visit to Paducah, Richardson encouraged residents, workers and retirees to share information that could help the Energy Department's investigation team. Investigators are now looking at historical practices dating to the beginning of the Paducah operations in the early 1950s. Former workers and supervisors with specific operational knowledge of cascade, feed, chemical, metal plant and environmental waste operations between 1950 and 1990 are asked to speak frankly with members of the investigative team, who will return to Paducah in early October. People who believe they can provide information of value may call 1-800-556-5415 by October 5. Calls will be returned by the Department's Office of Oversight, who will schedule times for interviews. Advertisements describing the Department's request for public participation appeared in Paducah area newspapers beginning Sunday, September 26.

Environment News Service (ENS) 1999. All Rights Reserved.