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PACRO plans meeting on cleanup

BY DAVID ZOELLER dzoeller@paducahsun.com

Paducah Area Community Reuse Organization members are planning a face-to-face meeting on the transition from the United States Enrichment Corporation to the U.S. Department of Energy oversight of cleanup operations at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.

According to Charlie Martin, PACRO executive director, USEC and DOE officials have apparently come to an agreement and the meeting will give them a chance to "explain to us how the transition is going to occur."

Even though the plant is cutting back operations, there is still a need to understand how ongoing systems and functions like fire protection and security are being handled and who has responsibility for them, Martin said.

"There are important issues we'd like to understand," Martin said. "Hopefully, we can ask questions."

Martin recommended the organization invite USEC and DOE officials to its September meeting.

Contract approval for the site cleanup is still under review by DOE, Martin said, which has yet to decide between two contractors.

The delay in awarding a cleanup contract is of particular concern as it relates to how much cleanup money approved by Congress will be spent in this fiscal year. Also of interest is what impact having unspent 2014-allocated funds roll over into 2015 will have on the amount ultimately approved next year, Martin said.

"Over the long haul, this is a significant issue for both the DOE and the community," Martin said.

Issues surrounding the PGDP will once again be a main topic of discussion when the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce-led delegation makes its annual trip to Washington, D.C. in September, according to Sandra Wilson, chamber president. The community has always presented a united front when it meets with its Congressional delegation on these trips, she said.

The board also discussed the possibility of visiting other gaseous diffusion plant sites to see how waste generated from the cleanup of those sites was disposed of and other issues. 

Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.

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