Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant


The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) is located in Pike County, Ohio, in southern central Ohio. PORTS was one of three large gaseous diffusion plants initially constructed to produce enriched uranium to support the nation’s nuclear weapons program and later enriched uranium used by commercial nuclear reactors.

The plant occupies about 1,200 acres of a 3,714-acre site. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) owns the plant and leases portions of the site to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) for its commercial enrichment programs. USEC ceased Uranium enrichment via gaseous diffusion at Portsmouth in May 2001.

Decades of uranium enrichment and support activities required the use of a number of typical and special industrial chemicals and materials. Plant operations generated hazardous, radioactive, mixed (both hazardous and radioactive), and nonchemical (sanitary) wastes. Past operations also resulted in soil, groundwater, and surface water contamination at several sites located within plant boundaries.

DOE’s role at Portsmouth :

  • Owner/landlord
  • Environmental cleanup
  • Disposal of legacy waste
  • D&D of inactive facilities
  • Storage and conversion of depleted uranium
  • hexafluoride (DUF6)
  • Interim storage/disposition of surplus uranium materials
  • Planning for D&D of gaseous diffusion plant

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 following the passage of the USEC Privatization Act in 1998. USEC ceased gaseous diffusion enrichment operations in 2001, and had maintained the process facilities in a condition where operations could resume within 18-24 months--called Cold Standby--until Fall 2005, when transition to shutdown began.

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

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