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LATA will add up to 95 cleanup jobs at PGDP with new funding

BY LAUREL BLACKlblack@paducahsun.com

LATA Kentucky this week added 47 jobs after the U.S. Department of Energy allocated a total of $324 million to cleanup operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

LATA Kentucky, one of the DOE's contractors, was allotted $102 million for this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. The funds will allow for the hiring of up to 95 people over the coming months, LATA spokesman Joe Walker said.

LATA will use its portion of the money primarily for the continued cleanup and eventual demolition of the C-410 Feed Plant, which was used to produce uranium hexafluoride from 1957 to 1977. The contractor will also work on groundwater and other cleanup operations, Walker said.

The funding will allow for the rehiring of some of the workers LATA Kentucky was forced to lay off late last year. The contractor laid off 79 hourly workers and 12 salaried workers, according to Sun files. Walker said an additional 10 people working through subcontractors were also laid off.

"LATA Kentucky is very excited that increased funding will allow us to aggressively pursue our mission of safely cleaning up the Paducah plant environment and recall workers whom we unfortunately had to lay off because of earlier budgetary constraints," LATA Kentucky project manager Mark Duff said in an emailed statement.

U.S. Rep. Ed Whitfield said earlier this year that a $1 trillion federal spending bill, which President Barack Obama signed into law in January, allocated $265 million to the DOE's cleanup operations.

Whitfield could not be reached to comment on the discrepancy.

Contact Laurel Black, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8641, or follow @LaurelFBlack on Twitter.

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