By Wayne Allen
Dennis Carr Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth site project director addressed the Scioto County Commissioners Thursday and gave an update on activities at the plant in Piketon. Carr told the commissioners safety is becoming a concern at the site.
Fluor-BWXT Portsmouth is a United States Department of Energy (DOE) contractor, performing Decontaminating and Decommissioning (D&D) of the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Piketon. Carr said with an $80 million budget shortfall, as many as 500 workers may need to be let go to balance funding and workforce.
Department of Energy (DOE) announced it will end the American Centrifuge Test Demonstration and Operation (ACTDO) activity at Piketon, potentially resulting in the layoffs of 200 employees. With a reduction in funding by the federal government, Centrus Energy Corp. announced their new reduced contract with Oak Ridge National Laboratory will not include continued operations of America’s only operating cascade of advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges in Piketon.
“Safety is key here. The level of distraction on that facility right now is incredible. We’re right across the fence from the (American) centrifuge facilities,” Carr said. “That collective amount of chatter is very distracting. We’re trying to stay focused on safety.”
He said there have been a number of pauses on work.
“We’re taking the action we think is necessary to maintain safety. I have to say we’re nowhere near as productive as I would like to see us, but the level of distraction is significant,” Carr said. “We’ve been trying to go in a very deliberate operational mode and so far we’ve not had any significant injuries.”
Carr acknowledged there have been a few slips, trips and falls.
“At this point nothing significant, but I am concerned. We’re going to maintain heightened safety awareness,” Carr said.
For more information about Fluor-BWXT operations and activities visit www.fbportsmouth.com.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT