PITTSBURGH – The United Steelworkers (USW) today applauded an agreement between the Department of Energy (DOE), Energy Northwest, Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and U.S. Enrichment Corporation, Inc. (USEC) to keep the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, which was slated for closure at the end of this month, open for an additional year.
Under the agreement, the DOE will provide 9,000 metric tons of high-assay depleted uranium hexafluoride, also known as “tails,” to Energy Northwest. USEC, the contractor at the Paducah, Ky., facility, will enrich the tails to make 480 metric tons of low-enriched uranium.
“This agreement will keep 1,200 men and women employed for another year,” said Jim Key, Vice President of USW Local 550, which played a key role in working with the parties involved to secure the agreement. “It was several years in the making, and we are glad our hard work paid off,” said Key.
The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is the only U.S.-owned uranium-enrichment facility and, therefore, plays a critical role in our nation’s nuclear security.
“We are committed to our members at Paducah who enrich the uranium that will be supplied to Energy Northwest,” said USW Vice President At-Large Carol Landry. “Our union will continue to work with DOE and the administration to ensure that the plant exists for the long-term to help meet U.S. energy and national security needs,” said Landry.
“We are glad that DOE recognized the vital role the Paducah facility and our highly skilled members employed there serve for our nation,” said USW International President, Leo Gerard. “And we are confident that the Paducah site can be home to other nuclear related processes and operations in the future as well.”
In addition to some 5,000 workers in the nuclear sector, the USW represents about 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries. For more, go to www.usw.org
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