The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is moving forward to transfer the first parcel of property at the Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) since decontamination and decommissioning (D&D) began at the site in 2011.
On July 20, the Department of Energy and the Southern Ohio Diversification Initiative (SODI) will formalize the transfer of Parcel 1, an 80-acre parcel in the southeast portion of the reservation and adjacent to the site’s Perimeter Road. Parcel 1 is located on a former air strip used during the early years of plant operation.
The transfer follows a rigorous review process by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, approval from Energy Secretary Rick Perry and a 60-day congressional review that ended this week.
“From the beginning of the D&D Project, the community has made it clear that its desired end state for the PORTS site is to re-use for economic development,” said Robert E. Edwards III, Manager of DOE’s Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office in Lexington, Ky. “We believe the transfer of Parcel 1 will demonstrate our commitment to making this a reality.”
In cooperation with DOE, SODI is organizing a ceremony formalizing the transfer.
SODI is the designated Community Reuse Organization (CRO) for the Portsmouth site. CRO’s were established in the late 1990’s to mitigate the economic and workforce restructuring impacts of DOE’s nuclear complex cleanup. Receiving excessed property from the PORTS site for economic development is one function of SODI.
“We are excited to get this first transfer complete. Having this acreage will allow SODI a real opportunity to recruit projects that will provide jobs to our local citizens,” said SODI Executive Director Steve Shepherd.
The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant was constructed from 1952-56. Uranium enrichment operations began in 1954 and ceased in 2001. Enriched uranium from the Portsmouth site was used for national security applications and to fuel the nation’s commercial nuclear power plants. The current DOE mission to clean up the site began in 1989.