PITTSBURGH, July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today expressed extreme disappointment over Department of Energy (DOE) plans to further delay transition of the Paducah, Ky., uranium enrichment site to cleanup mode.
"The DOE's latest request for offers (RFO) on the plant, issued last week, will delay resolution of the matter at least six months," said USW Vice President Carol Landry.
"DOE's continued bad decision making is putting hundreds of good union jobs at risk in a community that can ill-afford to lose these family-supporting incomes," said Landry, who leads the union's nuclear sector. The western Kentucky plant employs about 1,100, including 580 members of USW Local 550.
In addition to the potential job losses, cleanup of the site could be compromised if the experienced work force is laid off. "Our members know the site backwards and forwards," said USW Local 550 Vice President Jim Key. "We know where the contamination is, even in cases where company and DOE records are incomplete. All this knowledge will be lost if DOE goes ahead with its current plans and the experienced workers are let go. This could put the entire community in and around Paducah at risk if something is missed."
The USW also said there is concern that DOE is not following guidelines in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to publicly assess the environmental effects of its decisions regarding the future of the plant. "DOE has a legal as well as moral obligation to tell the public what the environmental impact will be as a result of its decisions. If it fails to do so, it could make an already difficult problem even worse," Key said.
The USW remains in contact with the DOE and is working with state and local officials and other stakeholders in the region to find a solution that preserves jobs and protects the health of the community.
The USW represents about 850,000 members in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean in a wide variety of industries, ranging from glassmaking to mining, paper, steel, tire and rubber to the public sector, service and health care industries. This includes some 5,000 workers in the nuclear sector. For more information, visit www.usw.org.
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)