The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Kentucky, is the only U.S.-owned uranium enrichment facility in the United States.
Owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, it is leased and operated by the United States Enrichment Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of USEC Inc.
The plant employs more than 800 people. From the 1960s to 2013, it produced low-enriched uranium fuel for commercial nuclear power plants in the United States and around the world.
The plant was opened in 1952 as part of a U.S. government program to produce highly enriched uranium to fuel military reactors and produce nuclear weapons. Enrichment at Paducah originally was limited to low levels, and the plant served as a "feed facility" for other defense plants in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Piketon, Ohio, where the enriched uranium was processed.
That mission changed in the 1960s, when Paducah, along with its sister plant in Piketon, began to enrich uranium for use in commercial nuclear reactors to generate electricity.
In May 2001, USEC completed a plan to consolidate its uranium enrichment operations at Paducah. In June 2002, transfer and shipping operations at the Piketon plant were also consolidated at Paducah. USEC ceased enrichment at Paducah in 2013. The company's employees are now preparing the plant's production buildings and other facilities for return to the U.S. Department of Energy.
|Federal Site Acreage:||3,425|
|Gaseous Diffusion Plant Acreage:||750|
|Total Number of Buildings:||161|
|Process Building Dimensions:||1,100 ft. long, 970 ft. wide, 90 ft. high|
|Process Building Acreage Under Roof:||74 acres|
|Number of Enrichment Stages:||1,760|
|Peak Design Power Capacity:||3,040 megawatts|
|Largest Process Motor:||3,300 horsepower|
|Water Utilization:||26 million gallons per day|
|Number of Control Instruments:||85,000|
|Miles of Process Piping:||400 (approximately)|
|Miles of Roadway:||19|
|Miles of Railroad:||9|
|Miles of Perimeter Fence:||5 miles|