The Paducah Sun

October 12, 1999

PCC offers class to help public understand environmental issues

A course on "Addressing Community Risks from Environmental Contamination" will be offered by Paducah Community College starting next week.

The one-credit course will educate residents about radiation and chemical hazards. It will meet from 6 to 8 p.m. from Oct. 21 to Dec. 16 in Crounse Hall on the PCC campus.

"Environmental problems are certainly the greatest concern facing residents right now, and we have developed a class to help educate people about hazards in the community from industrial operations," said Barbara Veazey, dean of academic affairs.

In recent months, there has been a barrage of publicity about highly radioactive contaminants such as plutonium and neptunium being in spent nuclear fuel reprocessed at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s. Two federal lawsuits allege the plant contaminated workers and concealed it.

"The information provided by the media ... while highlighting the issues, does not provide an adequate basis for drawing intelligent conclusions and identifying appropriate courses of action," Veazey said. "Unfortunately, the scientific literature that addresses environmental contamination hazards and community environmental protection is difficult to read and comprehend."

The course will introduce explain basic environmental protection strategies and some of the tools used in environmental decision making.

"We strongly encourage residents to attend this one-credit class so that they can become more informed about their surroundings," Veazey said.

PCC's Health Physics program is sponsoring the course. Ty Miller, a physicist and certified health physicist, will oversee the course and lead a diversified team of scientists. In addition to Miller, Neil Adams, Felix Akojie and Larry Bigham are among the scientists who will teach the course.

Students can register for the class by filling out an application fee and paying $50. All instructional materials will be provided. People 65 and older may take the class free, but must still register.

Registration is open and will continue until the first night of class. Information: call 554-9200, ext. 6103.