Plant History



  • The Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant (PORTS) was constructed from 1952-1956 as the last of three plants built to enrich uranium for the United States’ nuclear defense program and in later years for use in commercial nuclear reactors.



  • The PORTS site resides on 3,714 acres of federal land in Piketon, Ohio and has approximately 190 buildings, support facilities, storage areas, waste management units, and numerous utilities and infrastructure assets.



  • As a result of the end of the “Cold War,” in 1991 highly enriched uranium production was suspended in the United States.



  • In 1993, DOE leased the production facilities to the United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC) which was created under the Congressional Energy Policy Act of 1992.



  • USEC became a privatized company in 1998 through an Initial Public Offering and operated as a private corporation to produce low enriched uranium for use in commercial nuclear power plants until May 2001 at which time USEC ceased these operations at the PORTS site.



  • In 1999, DOE began using the PORTS site to provide interim storage for surplus uranium materials from other DOE sites (Fernald in Ohio, Hanford in Washington, and universities) until the materials could be permanently stored, disposed of, reused, or sold.



  • In August 2001, DOE signed a contract with USEC to put the plant in “Cold Standby Status” and USEC maintained the facility in this status until October 2006.



  • In October 2006, it was determined the plant would go into “Cold Shutdown Status” in order to prepare for the Decontamination and Decommissioning (D & D) of the plant.



  • The current D & D preparation scope of work includes:



    • Characterization of underlying soil
    • Final grading and ground cover of impacted areas
    • Identification and segregation of surplus equipment for potential reuse/recycle.
    • Disposition of all waste.