On Oct. 24, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, the U.S. Department of Energy and USEC observed the 50-year anniversary of the operation of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. It is important that this observance include an acknowledgement of the serious personal and environmental injustices that have resulted from the 50-year (history) of the plant. These include deaths and serious health problems caused by misleading and failing to properly protect workers, plant neighbors, and the public; significant, long-term environmental damage to the water, land, and air, including one of the most severe groundwater contamination plumes in the world; and, millions of tax dollars spent on cleanup with little progress to show.
This commemoration should have been a time for commitment to taking care of all the victims of the facility, and to a real cleanup of the plant grounds and neighborhoods outside the plant fence.
The 50-year operation of this plant is short-term gain traded for long-term loss. The human and environmental costs caused by this plant will last for centuries.
This is not the time to paint another false, rosy picture of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant as nothing but a benefit to the community without acknowledging the serious problems it has caused and without recommitting to correct all of those problems and compensate the victims.