The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Future impact of plant closure economically and job wise


Impact of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant

1,270 workers have a $251 million economic ripple effect on the region, based on a state model of how money turns over. High-paying manufacturing jobs have the greatest economic impact among nine industrial sectors.

USEC is one of area’s highest-paying employers with estimated annual payroll and benefits of $123 million to $140 million. Breakdown: $97,000 to $110,000 per worker.

USEC and employees evenly share $200,000 in annual charitable contributions. Last year, half the workers supported United Way, raising more than $100,000 at average $77 per worker.

Plant spends $11 million to $13 million annually on goods and services supplied mostly by local business.

$32,000 annually in business memberships.

Factors affecting the Paducah plant job outlook in 2010

Plant probably will be phased out over a few years as gas centrifuge is phased in, so not all workers will immediately lose jobs.

73 percent of current plant workers will be eligible for full (519 people) or partial (427 people) retirement pension in 2010, assuming employment doesn't change. Currently, 34 percent are eligible.

Since 1999, about 330 laid-off plant workers have obtained jobs with cleanup contractors that employ about 580. Plant is a complex Superfund site, and major cleanup will take until 2019 under a new state-federal agreement.

A factory to convert 38,000 cylinders of plant uranium hexafluoride (UF6) waste into safer material will be built starting next spring. It will generate 100-150 construction jobs over two years and 150 operational jobs for 20 to 25 years.

Industrial park improvements funded by the Energy Department through the Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization (PACRO) have helped save 1,150 jobs and created 45 jobs through low-interest loans for small businesses started by displaced nuclear workers. The money also has helped develop a regional industrial park in north Graves County. PACRO's desire to create jobs by recycling plant nickel is contingent on lifting of Energy Department ban on selling decontaminated scrap metal.