The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Two USEC plants get recertified by NRC


The Paducah plant operated safely for the past five years, according to the commission's periodic report to Congress.

The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant has been operated safely for the past five years, protecting the health and safety of workers and the public, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in the latest periodic report to Congress.

The NRC also has recertified the Paducah plant and a closed enrichment plant near Portsmouth, Ohio, through Dec. 31, 2008. The recertification and report to Congress are required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which created USEC Inc., the private corporation that operates the plants. Recertification means the plants are in compliance with NRC safety and security regulations.

NRC's report, covering the period from Oct. 1, 1998, to Sept. 30, said:

The plants provided adequate protection of health, safety, safeguards, security and environmental conditions, and have generally operated in compliance with NRC regulations.

Violations of NRC regulations were adequately addressed by corrective actions. Radiation exposure to workers and plant neighbors was very low and well within applicable limits.

Two events required activation of USECís emergency response center, and both were at the Portsmouth plant. There were no events resulting in a significant release of radioactive material.

In May 2001, USEC ended enrichment operations at the Portsmouth plant. Under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy, USEC is maintaining the Portsmouth plant in a standby condition.

The company also has applied to the NRC for a license to construct a demonstration gas centrifuge enrichment plant at Portsmouth.