Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant


The Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant is located 3 miles south of the Ohio River and is 12 miles west of Paducah, Kentucky. The plant began enriching uranium in 1952, first for the nation's nuclear weapons program, then for nuclear fuel for commercial power plants. Since that time, the plant has run continuously. Paducah remains the only operating gaseous diffusion uranium enrichment plant in the United States. 

  • Owned by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 
  • Located on a 3,556-acre reservation, with most plant facilities inside a security area of about 750 acres
  • Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife, as part of the West Kentucky Wildlife Management Area, manages most of the DOE reservation surrounding the plant
  • DOE leases Paducah processing facilities and other site areas to the United States Enrichment Corporation ( USEC ) for commercial uranium enrichment operations

More than 50 years of uranium enrichment operations and support activities generated hazardous, radioactive, mixed (both hazardous and radioactive), and non-chemical (sanitary) waste.  Past operations also resulted in soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination.  

Today, DOE's site missions include environmental cleanup, waste disposition, depleted uranium conversion, decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) inactive facilities, and long-term stewardship.

The 1992 Energy Policy Act created what would become USEC to restructure and transition the government's uranium enrichment operations to the private sector.  Initially, a government-owned corporation, USEC became a private company with the passage of the USEC Privatization Act in 1998.  DOE leases Paducah ’s enrichment operations facilities to USEC , which is regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.


Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office
1017 Majestic Drive, Suite 200
Lexington, KY  40513
Phone: (859) 219-4000
Fax: (859) 219-4098

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