On Tuesday, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, Senator Rand Paul and Congressman Ed Whitfield announced a path forward to preserve 1,200 jobs at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Paducah, Ky. Today's agreement of a plan by the Department of Energy (DOE) is the culmination of years of hard work by the Kentucky delegation, the DOE and the Paducah community.
This proposal is a win-win-win for taxpayers, workers and national security as it will reduce the amount of waste at the plant that will ultimately need to be disposed and save the federal government nearly $150 million in avoided maintenance costs for the Paducah plant, extend nearly 1,200 jobs, and create a source of uranium that can be used for our national security needs. Additionally, keeping this plant open provides a pathway to ensure our nation continues to have a domestic enrichment supplier to meet our national security needs.
"I'm pleased there is an agreement that will allow 1,200 hard working employees to continue to work for another year at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant." Senator McConnell said. "I am encouraged that all parties involved were able to come together and agree on a deal that will provide some certainty to the workers and the community. They have been waiting far too long. This plan will give the workers and the city additional time to prepare for the future as DOE works to transition the facility. I want to thank my colleagues, Senator Paul and Congressman Whitfield, the Administration, and all parties who worked with us to help provide this agreement for the people of Paducah."
"Through the hard work and combined efforts of Sen. McConnell, Rep. Whitfield, and myself, I am proud we were able to preserve the 1,200 jobs in Paducah for one final year," Senator Paul said.
"I am pleased the various parties have come together to execute an extension of work at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant for one year and preserve 1,200 jobs," Congressman Whitfield said. "In 2007, I first introduced legislation to use these tails to extend the life of the Paducah plant. Since then, I have worked tirelessly to see this day become a reality. But there is more to be done. We must continue to work together to ensure a viable transition plan is developed as this plant faces eventual closing."
This one year transition also will allow time for public officials and the community to formulate plans for productive use of the DOE site once uranium enrichment activity ceases. While today's announcement is important, it is critical that this planning be accelerated so that the workforce and the community prepare for the eventual closing of operations.