Paducah buildings suffer storm damage

19 November 2013

Buildings at USEC's Paducah gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in Kentucky were damaged by a powerful storm. The plant ceased enrichment operations earlier this year.

Paducah cooling tower damage 460 (USEC)
A damaged shroud that surrounds the fan blades of one of the Paducah plant's cooling towers lies near an exterior wall missing panels (Image: USEC)

Dozens of tornadoes struck four midwestern US states - Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio - on 17 November, killing at least eight people, injuring hundreds and causing extensive damage.

USEC reported that some buildings at its Paducah plant had been damaged, possibly due to a tornado "touching down within the plant perimeter." The company said that most of the damage was confined to the exteriors of plant structures. It said that one of the four enrichment production buildings, adjacent cooling towers and an electrical switchyard sustained most of the damage.

No production systems were affected by the storm and all safety-critical systems continued to function as intended, USEC stressed. Uranium enrichment at Paducah ceased in June and only limited plant operations related to inventory management were ongoing at the time of the storm. There were no injuries or releases of hazardous materials, USEC said.

USEC announced in May that it was ceasing operations at the old and inefficient Paducah plant, the world's only remaining gaseous diffusion enrichment plant. The plant - which USEC has leased from the US Department of Energy since May 1999 - had been in operation since September 1952.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News