PADUCAH — Joel Bradburne spoke on what he called a “generational commitment” Thursday, May 11, at the Paducah Area Chamber of Commerce Power in Partnership breakfast, about cleanup work at the former Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant.
“The way I see it today — it’s generational. We tend to think of these things as just one big operation, but in Paducah, it’s a cooperation and quality-of-work that started a while ago,” said Bradburne, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy Portsmouth-Paducah Project Office, where he oversees demolition progress and the depleted uranium hexafluoride conversion project at both locations.
“Our job isn’t just to clean the place up, but set the table for something else. As we progress, our goal is to find a reuse for this site.”
In a 10-year strategic vision, Bradburne showed priority items for deactivating the Paducah C-400 and C-333 buildings — a “city block” strategy, for a name matching the size of the facilities.
“People may drive by the site and go, ‘Man, that hasn’t changed much at all,’ ” he said. “At this stage in the game, most (progress) goes on in the buildings. It’s not until later that people see the skyline change from the outside.”
And on how DUF6 work is going: “If you don’t hear much about it, that’s a very good thing.”
The site is some 30% complete in removing its eight million pounds of freon.
“A tribute to investigative work that began in 1988,” Bradburne said. “We intend to drive a stake through this thing’s heart …. (The investigation) kicked off a big investigation and moved us down the road of remediation. A lot of it was practices of the time.”
Bradburne has over 30 years’ experience in shipyard, commercial nuclear, DOE and foreign nuclear site decommissioning for various programs. He has over 20 years’ experience at various DOE sites.
He joined the PPPO program in 2009 as Portsmouth site lead, becoming deputy manager in 2017 and manager in 2021. In the past year, the PPPO has welcomed April Ladd as Paducah site lead and Reinhard Knerr as deputy manager.
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