The Paducah Sun

January 21, 2000

DOE extends drum pile comment period

Staff report

The public comment period concerning the disposition of a large pile of crushed drums from the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been extended to Feb. 1.

The period was to have ended Thursday, but a request for more time prompted the extension by Dale Jackson, interim manager of the U.S. Department of Energy site office here.

The crushed drums, termed "drum mountain," encompass about 10 percent of the estimated 65,000 tons of scrap metal stored at the uranium enrichment plant. The drums once contained depleted uranium and were crushed after being emptied.

Removal of drum mountain is considered a priority because there is concern the drums could be a source of surface water contamination and because the drums are on an old materials burial ground.

A draft of the engineering evaluation/cost analysis that looks at options for handling the drums is available at the Paducah Public Library and at the DOE Environmental Information Center in the West Kentucky Technology Park on U.S. 60 in Kevil. It is also available on the World Wide Web at http://www.bechteljacobs.com/pad/report.htm.

The preferred removal envisions packaging the drums for disposal by October, with final disposal to be accomplished by December.

Should the draft recommendation be selected, a subcontractor to handle removal of the drums will be selected by March. Removal is scheduled to begin about May.

Public comments should be addressed to Myrna Redfield, U.S. Department of Energy, Paducah Site Office, P.O. Box 1410, Paducah, KY 42001; or fax comments to 441-6801.