The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Plant adds security

By Bill Bartleman
LANCE DENNEE/The Sun Tribute in Carlisle: A mural at 208 Front St. in downtown Bardwell, by Carlisle County resident Kay Presson, honors rescue workers' actions last Sept. 11. ‘I just want it to encourage people,’ she said.

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant was placed on a higher alert Tuesday after the Bush administration raised the nation’s terror alert warning to its second-highest level — code orange.

The alert at the Paducah plant and the U.S. Department of Energy compound that surrounds it means that access to the plant will be limited, patrols will be increased and all employees will be on the lookout for unusual activity, according to officials with USEC Inc., which runs the plant, and DOE.

Spokesmen for both emphasized there are no specific threats to the Paducah compound, but the higher alert and security measures are part of a plan approved after the terrorist attack one year ago.

USEC Inc. and DOE have an emergency management team assembled that will be ready to make an immediate response to potential problems or emergencies. The team includes representatives of USEC, DOE and Bechtel Jacobs, the company that is overseeing cleanup work at the plant.

Some routine deliveries and access to the plant will be canceled as long as code orange is in effect. Cleanup work by Bechtel Jacobs subcontractors will continue without interruption, company spokesman Greg Cook said.

The high alert also includes other security measures, which DOE and USEC officials said are classified.

McCracken County Sheriff Frank Augustus said he wasn't aware of the plant's increased security, but said his deputies will increase patrols in high-risk areas, such as the plant and Barkley Regional Airport.

Airport Manager Richard Roof said the code orange alert will not change any security measures at the airport. "We have been at a high level of security since last Sept. 11," he said.

However, he said commuter airlines serving Barkley have canceled flights today because of anticipated low ridership on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

Northwest Airlink canceled its 10:40 a.m. flight to Memphis, Tenn., but will continue its three other flights. American Connection will have only one flight to St. Louis today, at 10:26 a.m. Roof said the cancellations aren't expected to inconvenience travelers, because they were announced more than a month ago. He suggested travelers call the airlines to check on the status of the flights.

Security and patrols also have been increased around Kentucky and Barkley dams, although officials with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Army Corps of Engineers would not discuss details.

Access to many areas of the dams has been restricted since last year's attacks.